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Organise a Caribbean Carnival in School hideme

The Leeds West Indian Carnival offers a wealth of inspirational ideas for organising your own Caribbean carnival in school. From music, dance, costume and food to programming, planning and publicity, you can develop an exciting annual event that showcases the wide range of talent and skills that you have in school. The opportunities for developing an innovative programme of creative cross phase, cross curricular teaching and learning, involving not only pupils and teachers but parents, carers and the wider community are vast.

The resources on this page contain ideas to support you in your carnival coordination!

Curriculum links:

History, Literacy, RE, Music, Dance, Geography, Visual Art, Literacy, Design & Technology

Aim of resources:

These resources provides teachers and pupils with a range of ideas for activities as part of the organisation of a whole school Carnival event.

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of the Leeds West Indian Carnival and the many key events that are held within it.

Understanding of the task of organising a carnival or similar cross phase, whole school event.

Skills – wide range of creative and social skills.

Activity ideas:

The challenge is on to organise your school carnival!

Appoint a Carnival Committee To make it a success, you need to get everyone on board. The Leeds West Indian Carnival has a strong, dedicated and hardworking committee which meets regularly and more frequently as the big day approaches. They are in charge of all aspects of the festival from health and safety and parade routes to the stall holders who often attend these events and balancing the event budget. 

Follow their example and appoint a Carnival Committee in school. It could be made up of pupils, teachers, TAs, governors and parents. Decide on a date for your Carnival and itinerary of events. Create smaller groups with responsibility for each itinerary item, plus a group for publicity and marketing. Create a timeline of deadlines for what needs to be done for each itinerary item. Diarise regular meetings of the groups and the Committee to track progress.

Look through the Leeds West Indian Carnival page for further information.

Publicity Team – Appoint a school publicity team . Make posters, flyers and invitations for the event. Write a press release and contact the newspapers! Appoint Carnival journalists and plan interviews with the key participants. Write newspaper articles and create a newspaper. Appoint a school photographer.

Event Management Team – Appoint an Events team to co-ordinate events on the day. Plan the timings and locations of each item on the itinerary. Plan the route around school for the J’Ouvert morning and main parades.  Make maps and give them to the participants. Make badges and passes for everyone taking part – school journalists and photographers, dancers, entertainers, caterers, etc. Make flags and decorate the route.

J’Ouvert Morning – Look through the ‘J’Ouvert Morning’ page   and plan to start your carnival day the Caribbean way! Spend the first hour of the morning of your event with an organised pyjama parade through school. Play soca music and dance to the beat around school.

Carnival Parade and Costumes – Look through Leeds West Indian Carnival and the Carnival Costumes pages. Plan your own main parade through the school grounds. Design and make carnival costumes to wear on the day. Organise the crowning of the King and Queen of Carnival. Look at the ‘Masquerade, Mask-Making and Spiritual ’ page - make masks for everyone to wear on the day.

Carnival Music and Dance – Refer to the ‘Music and Dance of Carnival ’ page then make your own instruments and create a band. Learn some steel pan music. Set up a sound system and play some calypso or reggae music. Soca dance! Sing and perform some kaiso songs!

Carnival Catering – Find out about West Indian Carnival food on the ‘Carnival Food ’ page.   Make Caribbean food and serve it on the day. Ask your school chef to support by providing meals with a Caribbean flavour. Create recipes and menus with a Carnival theme.

We look forward to hearing about your plans and don’t forget to invite us to your Carnival event! Good luck! 

Leeds West Indian Carnival assembling in Potternewton Park, Leeds, August 1974
Ian Charles at Leeds West Indian Carnival, 1983
Policeman and woman dressed in carnival costume dancing at Leeds West Indian Carnival 1985