We have a diverse group of first grade learners who we believe do not always have an opportunity to be exposed to the arts. Studies have found that children's theatre has a powerful impact on their development. Studies show that engaging in imaginative activities, like theatre, fosters increased intelligence. Research also shows that children that attend live theatre performances have greater empathy for others. They also demonstrate a better understanding of reading materials.
Due to varying socio-economic backgrounds and limited theatre opportunities, we feel that our students would greatly benefit from this experience.
Our school is one of five elementary schools in the district and draws students from both rural and suburban areas. The school district itself has over 6000 students and our specific school services over 500.
The students will participate in a theatrical experience that is focused on content curriculum that is studied in first grade. The performance is about space. The specific skills that are tied to this learning experience are imaginative thinking, comprehension of a story that is acted out, and social behavior and expectations for a public event.
The performance about space will be tied to what they are learning in the classroom bringing it to a concrete and tangible level in which they can more easily connect with.
This will then build a deeper level of knowledge for them.
Developing and encouraging the use of imagination with first graders is important. Imagination is used to solve problems, think of new ways to do things, and leads to deeper levels of thought. Using acting to visually see stories helps our students to use higher level comprehension skills such as inference. Inference is when there are elements of a story that are not specifically spelled out but instead are intended to just be understood. Finally the experience of being in a theatrical performance setting helps to teach the children the social norms of acceptable behavior such as appreciation for the performers' hard work and the respect of those around you listening to the performance.
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