This was an email that our 5&6 grade crew leader Deridre Cassidy sent out to all the parents and I thought you would enjoy reading it.
Now that the dust has settled from all the excitement of the holidays and our fabulous play – and the songs are finally fading from my mind – I am able to reflect on the experience I had with our remarkable students during the process leading up to our holiday performance.
The “play process” is the one time during the school year when all of the students at the Community School work together, over a period of time, for a common cause – putting on a dramatic performance for friends and family. There are numerous skills involved throughout this process, besides the obvious ones like learning lines, dances and songs.
At the center of all Drama is COMMUNICATION. Students become comfortable speaking in front of an audience which can be an important skill in today’s increasingly information-centered world. Students that have been at the school for years are incredibly comfortable speaking in front of groups; younger students are just beginning to develop this skill. Practicing the play also helps students become more PERSUASIVE in their communication skills. Furthermore, we are constantly communicating with one another about how to improve our performance and help each other in a positive and helpful way; younger students, as well as older students, verbalize to the entire group about how we can work together to make things better. We problem-solve together creatively in a safe environment. To see a seven year old articulating to a group of 38 students how to project their voices is just darn right cool!
Other skills involved are: SELF-CONTROL, DISCIPLINE, WORKING TOGETHER, CONFIDENCE and TEAM BUILDING. Participation in the performance requires an incredible amount of self-control – learning to be patient for your part to come, keeping your body to yourself, listening carefully and doing your best for the common cause. We talk about how each part is important – like pieces to a puzzle – if a part is missing, the cohesion is lost. The “play process” is a truly collaborative time when we all work together to be a team – one team doing wonderful things together.
Students can, for a time, become another, explore a new role, try out and experiment with solutions to problems faced by the various characters. They learn about the world and themselves. Students develop TOLERANCE and EMPATHY by being in another person’s shoes. Our plays connect to the curriculum, (this year The Ancients) where we go deeper into the subject so that they can appreciate the characters and the time period we are studying. Drama helps to promote active learning and a greater depth of understanding of a subject for improved retention. Our students will probably always remember the story of Theseus and the Minotaur.
This year was the first year we had so many students singing solo. I remember the day I informed the Older Crew that they would each have a solo to sing. They didn’t think they could do it – but they did it beautifully! They each gained an incredible amount of self-confidence during this process.
We are so proud of all the students and the amazing job they did working together; using the skills they learned to bring an entertaining fun-filled play to family and friends. Thank you all for your support in making our holiday performance so successful!!
Happy New Year!