Find Your Rhythm: Norwich High Prep School and Nursery Winter Arts Festival 2024

Posted on 16th February 2024 by Susan Roberts

Norwich High Prep School and Nursery Winter Arts Festival 2024

Winter Arts Festival week is always a vibrant and lively way to end the first half of the Spring Term and none more so than this year. With the title Find your Rhythm, it was clear the week would be full of excitement and noise but I think the different events still managed to exceed our anticipated expectations.

Taking the title quite literally, the girls have danced and drummed, beatboxed and boarded their way through the week. As is often the case, Winter Arts Festival 2024 has been a chance for the girls to try new activities and many of them have had to step out of their comfort zones to make the most of the opportunities on offer.

Alongside all of the fun and activity, the girls have also applied Find your Rhythm to themselves as they spent some time unpacking what it means to know themselves well. This time to focus on our mental health has become a key feature of our Winter Arts Festival weeks over the last few years and it is always good to set aside some time to do this.

I am so proud of each of our girls and it has been wonderful to see them enjoying themselves.

“Whether the girls will ever beatbox, street dance or skateboard again is not important. What is key is that they have given something new a go this week. Some have found a new passion and some will be glad to just have had the experience once, but they have all learnt something about themselves as individuals and as a community this week.”

Susan Roberts, Head of Norwich High Prep School and Nursery


We were delighted to welcome Kimmy to the Prep School on Monday. Kimmy is part of the Beatbox Collective, who we first saw on stage at Young Voices 2023. They used their amazing beatboxing skills to accompany the violinist, Anna Phoebe and we knew we had to have a go too.

Kimmy told us how beatboxing was all about controlling your breathing and this was how it was possible to produce so many sounds without stopping. Kimmy taught us how to use our voices and breathing to create sounds and rhythm. Lots of girls from Nursery to Year 6 were brave enough to come up to the microphone and try out their sounds. Even some of the staff stepped out of their comfort zones to have a beatboxing battle!

We learnt a kick drum, a snare drum and a high hat sound, but I think the favourite was the Peppa Pig noise. Kimmy made us all feel good and we loved hosting the session.


Ash Lever from Community East skateboarding came into school on Tuesday and Wednesday morning to teach everyone, from Nursery to Year 6, how to skateboard. Although we were not quite ready for ollies and flips, everyone did gain confidence quickly and by the end of the session the girls were skating independently and even having a go at skateboard limbo. It was great fun.

Community East is a skate park inside a 15th Century Norwich church. Ash, and his friend Sam, crowdfunded the project to transform the interior of the beautiful building in King Street so they could have a base from which to continue to share their lifelong passion for skateboarding with Norwich.

Product Design

Mrs Ryan organised DT workshops for Year 5 in the Product Design Lab in the Senior School. The girls made wooden robots, learning how to cut, shape, drill and connect each of the wooden elements to make their own miniature characters.

Fashion Design

On Tuesday, Year 6 worked with one of our parents, Rebekah Pledger, a noted fashion designer. The girls began by discussing the inspiration behind the different types of clothes they wore and then used collage to design their own outfits. They were then free to use their imagination to design and make an outfit with lengths of fabrics, paint a coat and use an appliqué technique to decorate by sewing and glueing together different fabrics, beads and ribbons. The whole day was creative and inspiring and the girls really enjoyed themselves.

Street Dancing

Our fabulous Dance Teacher, Miss Lili-Mae Hamilton, danced her way through the whole day on Tuesday as she taught all the girls, from Nursery to Year 6, their section of street dance for our dance off on Thursday. Set to the track ‘Wings’ by Little Mix, the girls learnt and practised choreographed moves for their section of the song and performed a storm.

Fusion Percussion

With Find your Rhythm as the title, we had to have a percussion workshop as part of the WAF week experience and our Assistant Director of Music, Mr Wistow, was happy to oblige.

Armed with drums, shakers, wooden blocks and all manner of percussion instruments, the girls found their rhythm as a group and made a great sound. All year groups were able to take part and many learnt about instruments they had never seen before.

Brass Showcase

Norwich High School for Girls Director of Music, Mr Hall, and some Senior School and Sixth Form students held an Assembly on Wednesday when they introduced us to the family of brass instruments and we heard them play on the French horn, trumpet and trombone. Mr Hall showed us that playing a hosepipe was very similar to playing the trumpet and then persuaded myself to have a go at a ‘toot’ which is a plastic trumpet. I was very pleased to be able to get a note out of it!

Blacklight Drama

The Senior School drama teacher, Mrs Rea-Gardner taught Year 3 and 4 how to use UV light to create blacklight drama with stunning results.


Year 5 and 6 had some extra sessions with Miss Lili-Mae to practise their dance for ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’ from the musical, Annie. The girls worked hard to learn some complicated moves and were stars of the ‘Showstopper’ musical performance with a cast of Senior School and Sixth Form students in Eaton Grove Hall on Thursday evening. Thank you also to Mrs Wistow and our Singing Teacher Mrs Stephen for working on this number. It has been lovely for our oldest Prep girls to be able to join in with this event with the Senior girls and it was inspiring for both them and their family in the audience to see what opportunities there are for them in the future.

Art Projects

Throughout the week there have been a number of art projects happening across the school which over the next few weeks, will become new displays as they are completed. The girls have made cuckoo clocks, drawn goddesses in the style of Sandra Silberzweig, layered papier mache cups, created swinging birds, designed heart pictures, made musical notes and much more.

We finished the week with everyone involved in a House Art Event. The girls had two tasks to do; to paint and decorate wooden cogs and to wrap small rings with wool to create wheels.

Find Your Rhythm

Our theme this week of Find Your Rhythm has encompassed everything from heart beats to percussion, creativity to the rhythm of movement. Each of our speakers has shared their story and talked about how their passions have helped them manage the ups and downs of life. Kimmy, our beatboxer, talked about overcoming anxiety using her beatboxing to control her breathing and distract her. Ash talked about skateboarding helping him to forget his worries and feel free.

It is important that our girls know themselves and understand their emotions. Feeling big emotions is very normal but it takes time for us to work out what we need to find our rhythm again when those big emotions throw us off course.

This week in her Find Your Rhythm sessions, Mrs Barton considered how our day to day lives are made up of repeating patterns or rhythms and how each person has their own unique rhythm. She helped the girls put together a toolbox of ways that they can regulate themselves when they have strong feelings and they have realised that everyone is different – what helps one will be very different for another but that’s the way it should be. It was heartwarming to hear so many girls opening up about what some of these ‘big’ feelings look and feel like for them. We talked about what we need when these emotions upset our rhythm; what will help to get us back on track. From hugs with family members, pets and cuddly toys to drawing, being active or enjoying nature, the girls shared their ‘tools’ to help them deal with difficult times. Their ‘toolkits’ are now full and personalised to meet their needs. We hope they will prove helpful as the girls navigate the complex world of emotions. This kind of shared experience has brought the girls closer together this week.