Every other year since the 2013-14 school year, 1st and 2nd grade students at George Washington Elementary School have received theatre workshops through an artist-in-residency program, culminating in a field trip to the 24th Street Theatre, where students participated in an interactive theatre experience. Teachers evaluated the program’s impact by observing the students’ ability to apply theatre concepts across the curriculum: students were asked to create scenes or tableaux demonstrating their understanding of vocabulary, sequencing, and elements of story by applying the theatre skills they learned.
Not only has this program impacted students, but it has also helped provide the teachers at Washington with the tools needed to incorporate theatre techniques and concepts into their lessons in subjects like reading, math, science, art, dance, and social studies.
This project has now been implemented three times, and the students who participated in its initial year (2013-14) are now in 4th and 5th grades. This means that every current student between 1st through 5th grade at Washington Elementary has received a theatre arts education through this program!
“It is important to implement this program because, being a Title 1 School, our students have limited exposure and access to the live theatre. This program allows students to get up close and personal when participating in the theatre experience. Over the years, I have seen first-hand how theatre lessons excite and engage students. My students come to life! I can actually see them coming out of their shells and continuing on a track to creativity and self-confidence. I believe that this type of engagement speaks volumes to the students.” -Patty Dagata, 2nd Grade Teacher at George Washington Elementary