Norwich High Prep School and Nursery enjoy an action-packed Winter Arts Festival week 2023

Posted on 14th February 2023 by Susan Roberts

The Norwich High Prep School and Nursery Winter Arts Festival 2023.

The Winter Arts Festival is always a keenly anticipated event in the Prep School and Nursery and none more so than this year. With the last few years events cancelled or affected by Covid, it was a joy to put together a packed week of creative activities for the girls this time.

This year’s event coincided with Children’s Mental Health Week, so we decided to focus on the value of creativity and how, in its many forms, being creative is good for our mental health. Many of the girls already find time in their busy lives for creative pursuits, such as music, art and drama, and they value the space and enjoyment these activities bring.

At Norwich High Prep School, we place huge importance on the inclusion of creativity in our curriculum, but the Winter Arts Festival is a way to push the boundaries of what we normally provide. Drawing from local connections and national talent, we are able to inspire and enrich the girls’ experience in an immersive week of events. This year has been no exception as we have welcomed artists, dancers and writers into school to share their passion with the girls, as well as connecting with a local ceramics studio and visiting the Puppet Theatre in Norwich.

“The girls have danced and sung at Wembley Arena, learned to doodle from an expert, worked with clay, created blacklight drama pieces and so much more. What a week it has been!”

Susan Roberts, Head of Prep School and Nursery at Norwich High School for Girls

Let’s Connect

As part of WAF Week, and Children’s Mental Health Week, we created a ‘Let’s Connect’ booklet for all the girls from Kindergarten to Year 6. On Tuesday morning, Miss Brand led an assembly where we discussed what mental health means to us as a community and how our mental health dictates how we feel, how we think and how we act. We thought about how we connect with others through talk, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact and touch. We all need to feel connected to others, to belong and feel valued and seen.

Dr Alex George spoke to Year 5 and 6 girls across the GDST about his book. He shared some of the ways the girls can learn to talk positively about their mental health, looking after it in the same way as they do their physical health.

West African Dancing

WAF week began with a bang on Monday as Zamble Dance taught all the girls traditional dancing from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. With djembe drum accompaniment, the girls learnt a range of different moves, eventually putting together a whole piece. The girls had to listen carefully to the drumming to work out when to change from one move to the next. It was fabulous fun!


Young Voices 2023

We had an amazing time at the Young Voices concert at OVO Wembley Arena on Tuesday. The Prep Choir, with students from Years 3-6, formed part of a choir of over 5,000 children. We spent the afternoon rehearsing and perfecting the part harmonies and dance moves, followed by a spectacular evening concert. Featuring appearances from the Beat Box Collective, the Urban Strides Street Dance Crew and violinist Anna Phoebe, the choir performed fantastically well and the noise of the combined voices and energy was incredible. A highlight was singing ‘Proud’ with Heather Small, which is set to be released as a charity single, raising money for the Place2Be children’s mental health charity. Congratulations to all the choir members who took part and thank you to the staff who helped and parents who came along to watch the concert – a day to remember!

Frankie Curtis – Doodle Artist

Frankie Curtis, a professional artist from London, taught the girls how to create art through doodling. In her assembly she explained the joys and setbacks of becoming an artist and shared the secrets of how she creates her uniquely styled street art. She created characters on request, drawing live during the assembly.

Frankie then moved to the art room to begin creating a huge doodled mural. After spray painting the word ‘CREATE’ in the centre of the wall she began doodling designs around the letters. It looks amazing!

Creature Creations

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


Bookbugs and Dragon Tales

We were delighted to host Poppy from the independent Norwich bookshop, Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, to run some creative writing workshops with all the age groups. She introduced them to their inner superhero and the girls wrote about their unique talents.

Junk Percussion Workshop

This WAF week we have been looking at all things you can bang, shake and whack – which we have found out is pretty much anything we could think of! By using pots, pans, hockey sticks, benches, mugs, and pencils, the girls from Year 3 to 6 have experimented with creating new sounds from objects around the school in order to devise an original piece of music with their newfound instruments.

Food Tech Icing Art

Mrs Wright introduced the girls to the art of icing as they made their own cupcakes in Food Tech. Topped with food colouring painted flowers the cakes were packed in presentation boxes to take home. The few extras that made their way into the staff room were delicious!

Norwich Puppet Theatre

Nursery to Year 3 enjoyed an opportunity to visit the Puppet Theatre to create their own puppets.

Pottery Disc Making

Working in partnership with Studio-Do, each girl has made her own ceramic discs which will be glazed and fired in the coming weeks.

Cushion Making

Mrs Moir paired up older girls with younger ones to work on their sewing skills. They made cushions for the library with pictures of Bailey on the front. Learning to thread a needle was hard but we got the hang of it in the end.

Forest Schools

We know that getting outside in the fresh air to enjoy discovering nature is good for our mental health. That’s why we continued with our Forest Schools lessons during WAF Week.

From mud pies to story circles, there’s always something to do in the woods.

Mask Making

Year 5 and 6 made Aztec inspired masks from layers of cardboard. Finally they spray painted them, choosing the colours carefully.

Acrylic Art

Mrs Barnes helped the girls draw fish on special paper called velum to create an underwater acrylic scene.

And much more …

Ms Thomson led some fun and energetic sessions of Scottish ceilidh dancing. There was lots of laughter!

The Senior School Head of Drama, Mrs Rea-Gardner, taught Year 4 and 5 how to use UV light to create blacklight drama. They retold the stories of The Three Little Pigs and The Pied Piper of Hamlin.

From pastels to watercolours to inks, there’s lots of different ways to be artistic. EYFS, Year 3 and Year 6 worked on some different projects with Miss Gooch and Madeleine, a visiting art teacher.

Plus Stop Motion Animation Magic with Mr Barker and Small World Photography with Mrs Atkinson to show even the iPads can be used to be creative.