June is my favourite time of the year because this is when my ALP classroom launches into full rehearsals for our Celebration of Learning. The CoL is no small feat: we rent a proper theatre, put on an art show, and perform a full stage production that consists of drama, music, and dance. This show is a culmination of the successes of the year, and is just as much about the process as the product.
I teach through the Creative and Performing Arts throughout the entire school year. My students have a variety of complex physical, speech, cognitive, and mental health challenges that makes traditional methods of learning difficult. For my students, the Arts are an equalizer, a place where everyone can have their voice heard.
In preparing for Drama we dig into our literacy skills, reading and re-writing dialogue. We are motivated to practice conversational pacing and clarity of speech. In Music we learn to read non-verbal cues and be active listeners. We learn to control our breath, and how to transfer that skill to times when we are angry or frustrated. Dancing gives opportunity to work on motor planning skills, and to feel where our body is in space. Structured Art activities have us following verbal instructions, and developing our fine motor skills.
All of this hard work culminates at the performance, where my students work up the courage to share their growth with the important people in their lives. When the curtain rises June 16, we will be celebrating with them.
Naomi Bell (@naomidianne) teaches the ALP program at Midsun and is thankful to work with a team who value the arts as much as her. She collects old vinyl, comic books, and has a weird obsession with pugs.
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