This week, we wrapped up our month-long residency with Interact Story Theatre, a performing arts program that is partially funded by a grant through the Maryland State Arts Council. The residency provides performances for the children, and also includes classroom workshops, where teaching artists guide the children through dramatic storytelling activities.
Last week, our preschool and JK students were treated to a storytelling performance of “The Lonely Lion”, and were completely enthralled while a single performer acted out a story involving multiple characters, with no costumes, using a ladder as her only prop. It was impressive to see how much you can portray using just your voice, body, and imagination! This week, our K-2 students attended an interactive play called “The Town That Cried Avalanche,” where the children were able to provide the sound effects, and also participate in a town meeting to share and discuss their ideas to solve the town’s sustainability issues!
Each class also took part in three storytelling workshops, led by a teaching artist. Each session was scaffolded in a way that allowed the children to feel free and comfortable to act out stories with their friends. The first story was told and performed by the teacher, who then guided the children to act out individual parts in the African folktale, “Anansi the Spider”. Through active engagement, the children were able to retain and retell the story with ease, which would be much more challenging if they had been passively listening. By the third session, the children collaborated to create and perform their own story, making sure to cover the elements of character, setting and plot.
The Interact Story Theatre residency is a wonderful program that is in line with our philosophy and belief that children learn best while doing, that they should be provided open ended problems to explore and solve, that they should think creatively, and that they should celebrate each other’s efforts. We look forward to continuing this partnership, and will continue to nurture our students’ creativity!