A couple of Sunday's ago the kids and I travelled up to London with Daddy, he was off to work and we were heading to a blogger event which had been put on by Perform. I have to say we were all looking forward to this as we were promised a high-energy, fun and infectious party that would combine a mix of drama, dance and singing specially formulated with a focus on child development to bring out every child's true potential. Sounds like a pretty impressive promise doesn't it?
So what sort of things did I see them getting up to? This party was sold as a Pirate and Mermaids party and the host was fully dressed in her pirate gear and even put on the accent. She had boundless energy and a real warmth that made the kids feel at ease. It was superb to watch one little girl of about 5 years be really shy at the beginning and sit with her Mum and then warm up as the event went on and by the end she was joining in independently and having as much fun as the other kids.
The children all searched for the missing pineapple, played musical statues hiding from the evil Pirate, did some mime, played hide and seek and enjoyed many more games. They were sitting one minute, playing with their partner the next, marching alone a while later and then back into the circle for more team games. High energy it definitely was, one hour at this party would be enough for any child of have had their fill of fun.
The game I really enjoyed watching was 'banana'. A really simple game with the kids and the host sitting together in a circle. One child comes to the middle and can only answer banana to any question asked, the host talked animatedly about how she liked to wash her hair in the shower in the morning and then asked the child what they used to wash their hair. Of course they answered banana and had the whole group roaring with laughter with them. The aim of this game is to take the child who is too shy to speak when the centre of attention and to make it so easy for them that they too can just say banana even if it is in the quietest voice ever but then the sense of satisfaction they get by knowing that they did it causes a roll-on effect.
How fabulous, parties that also develop and engage all children. Perform focuses on the 4 C's and every activity that is undertaken will focus on one of the 4:
Watch a small part of the party in action -
As well as parties, Perform also run drama classes in absolutely loads of locations, mostly London and the Home Counties it appears. Perform do say they are always looking for new venues though and encourage people to contact them with suggestions. I have friends whose children have attended the Perform stage schools before, not because they want them to attend serious stage school when older and become professional actors but because they want the children to grow in confidence. I know my God-daughter attended for a couple of years and this certainly helped this shy little girl blossom and feel more comfortable around strangers and in a large group. You can book a free taster class for your child before you go ahead and decide if Perform is right for your child too, which is good for peace of mind. All children wear a red Perform t-shirt at the classes for the same reason that your child will wear school uniform, so they are comfortable, in clothes can they can be free to romp around in and so there is no hierarchy. The cost of a t-shirt is £7.50 and they are really good quality cotton.
I enjoyed talking to Lucy Quick at the event, she is the Principal and founder of Perform, having created the company 12 years ago. Lucy told me that over 4000 children attend their classes every year now and that they have a fund whereby they offer scholarship to about 150 children a year to attend their classes for free. I was so pleased to hear that the children that get the free spaces are those shy children who would really benefit from a confidence boast but whose parents could not afford the fees. The nominations for scholarships are received from school teachers and such. I am very much the kind of person who likes to support a business if I like their ethos and way of working and Lucy certainly seems to be someone with a good heart and a great vision for empowering children. I'll leave you with a link to Lucy's blog, this is a bit of a gem I found when investigating the Perform website.
Disclosure: The children and myself were invited to this event and given a goodie bag with t-shirt and CD. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.