If you haven’t heard of the Huzzah performing arts holiday camps, it’s time you did!
Run by Katie and Maharati, two highly trained and energetic teachers, these hugely popular holiday camps offer a great platform to springboard children into an environment which boosts both their confidence and creativity.
Classes teach dance techniques, singing skills, drama activities, performance disciplines and rehearsals, whilst also focusing heavily on encouraging children to make new social bonds and step outside of their comfort zone.
Key skills such as paying close attention, using their initiative, sharing with and leading a group are also high on the agenda. Despite their drive to showcase the best of what the children have to offer, Katie and Maharati also acknowledge that such focus and excitement can at times be overstimulating, so they ensure mindfulness and meditation are also practiced within the sessions.
After hearing a little bit more about Katie and Maharati’s background, we felt compelled to ask them a few more questions about themselves and their classes – and its all rather awe-inspriring. Here’s what they had to say…
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE THE PERFORMING ARTS?
I always knew that Performing Arts was the way forward for me. From watching my own reflection dancing about to Whitney Houston on the switched off TV screen, to making people laugh in primary school pretending to be a talking dog, I felt that this performing thing was pure magic and nothing else I did would fill that void. So, I joined the central TV workshops at 5, AGF Performing Arts at 14 then went to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts at 18 and realised I had found my tribe.
I was that weird kid at school, humming away to myself in the corner, entirely in my own world. I was sort of good at everything and had no real direction until, when I was 15, a teacher saw something in me and gave me a comedy character part in the school play – up til then I’d made a yearly appearance as 3rd tree from the left. That did it. I had found a place where I made sense. Everything that didn’t work in life – being too loud, overly expressive and having too much presence for my frame was suddenly welcome on stage. I was home.
WHY DO YOU THINK MEDITATION AND GROWTH MINDSET IS IMPORTANT FOR THE LEARNING PROCESS?
The way you speak to a child can either shut down their ability to learn or make them hungry for more. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as praising the child: sometimes praise can actually inhibit growth. At Huzzah, we use specific tactics and games that will encourage your child to problem solve, use tactical thinking and get excited about their own achievements.
Simple meditation is as natural and easy for children as taking a nap, but with far more powerful benefits; a short meditation session can have immediate effects on a child’s behaviour, helping them to deal with tough emotions, feel more socially responsible and connected, and experience greater levels of self-esteem.
Meditation also reduces stress hormones, relieves restlessness and increases the chances of a good night’s sleep!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY MAKES HUZZAH UNIQUE?
We’ve been doing this for more years than Maharati would like to admit to! Huzzah has a defined pedagogical method that we train our teachers in. We’ve both been the Head of Drama at Primary Schools and still teach, so rather than just chucking a bunch of games together, we understand how to build a curriculum that flows and takes a child from one level to the next.
We aren’t looking for a cookie cutter child and our classes aren’t tipped towards either those who want to be performers or those who need work on confidence and self esteem, we have no idea what these children will be when they grow up, so we give them everything we have! Uniqueness is encouraged in our little introverts and extroverts.
What really sets us apart though is our commitment to the bigger picture. The wellbeing of the child is our real focus. That’s why we’ve brought mindfulness practices into our classes. We both have a meditation practice (Maharati is actually a monk!) that has allowed us to live in all the chaos and drama of London with a sense of inner calm and reassurance. That’s what we share with the children so they can feel connected, at peace, creative, calm and confident.
We asked Katie and Maharati for some parent testimonials, and were presented with a vast amount – a clear testament to the way Katie and Maharati teach and structure their classes. Here are just a couple that seemed to sum up the general feeling felt by local parents:
My 4 yr old boy has been to two Huzzah camps already, and absolutely loved it. The team are so warm and excellent with the kids, and it was clear from how gentle and caring the kids were toward each other, irrespective of age gap, that Huzzah really know how to build a sense of real community incredibly quickly. My son is quite introverted and young for his age, so I had some concerns about leaving him with a large group of kids. I needn’t have worried. He was instantly welcomed and will definitely be back for more. Huzzah for Huzzah!
– Maxine Monu
My two had a great time and really benefited. I have struggled to find good holiday clubs and now feel I have one – my children are already asking me when they will be going back.
All thanks to a warm and welcoming team.
– Faye Lawrence (Tilly (10) and Theo (7))
Huzzah holiday courses are for children aged 4 – 11
Holiday classes start at 10am and finish at 4pm, with extended hours available
Venue: St Helen’s Church, St Helen’s Gardens, W10 6LP
Huzzah do Birthday Parties too!