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13 March 2020

“Poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” Leonardo da Vinci

“Poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”  Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci‘s perception that “poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen”, supports the view that poetry is an outlet for the imaginative expression of emotion. Poetry, even in Early Years with the exposure to the flair of rhyming couplets and nursery rhymes is an aspect of literacy that we fully embrace at The Hampshire School Chelsea. The development of imagination and the opportunity for the children to have a ‘voice’ and express their feelings are integral to our Growth Mindset approach to educating the whole child. There is no doubt that literacy appreciation requires a serious apprenticeship which involves resilience and challenge. Add to that the positive impact poetry may have on a child’s mental wellbeing, engagement with poetry not only enhances a child’s development academically and personally but also provides an opportunity for their thoughts to be documented which may otherwise have gone unheard.

With Poetry Week fast approaching, the teachers have been laying the foundations for the children to write their poems and, in Leonardo da Vinci’s words paint a canvas of poetic verse. It may be the beauty of language, the depth of human feeling, the poetic model such as a haiku or sonnet, or a poem’s simplicity that motivates a child to read, or write poetry. For those children who enjoy recitation, the dual aspect of the Poetry Competition which offers the opportunity to write a poem and recite one of their own choice is an exciting prospect. The theme of ‘Happier Together’ for the written aspect of the competition incorporates our core value of Community and a sense of togetherness, with the celebration of the International Day of Happiness this month.

Reciting a poem can be incredibly rewarding as it presents the chance to read, then re-read a poem and collaborate with the writer. It has the power to extend a child’s level of language acquisition, making them more aware of words as building blocks to enhanced literary skills. Being able to learn a poem is good for developing confidence and improving enunciation, and is particularly helpful in promoting public-speaking skills. We encourage the children to learn their poems, although our resident poet, Miss Mulley, is on hand to prompt and support our budding poets. Ultimately, it does not matter if the children are not word-perfect in their performance, what matters is that engagement and the process that is valuable and enriching.

I remember choosing to learn the poem "The Tyger" by the English poet William Blake at school because I was impressed by how Blake uses alliteration combined with imagery in the poem. I can still recall the verses and the accomplishment I felt after nervously reading it in front of a friendly and supportive audience of poetry lovers.

I look forward to welcoming parents to the Poetry Competition, to hearing the children’s poems, to see our young artist’s illustrations displayed in the Library, and to experiencing the performance poetry that each class has prepared for the school community to enjoy. The celebration of the pupil’s talents will be documented with all the children’s poems published in an inaugural ‘The Hampshire School Chelsea Poetry Book 2020’ along with a range of the illustrations which have been created by the children with skill and imagination.

Dr Pamela Edmonds



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The Hampshire School Chelsea

15 Manresa Road, Chelsea
London, SW3 6NB

Tel: +44[0] 207 352 7077