Holland Elementary Target Arts Program: A lot of Love, Pride & Empowerment

Posted 17 December 2012 12:00 AM by Jennifer Vento, Target Arts Teaching Artist

“I like myself.” – Keilly

“I’m a great kid and a great actor.” - Luis

“I learned about listening and doing a play and doing a good job.” – Omar

“I’m awesome.” - Briana

Less than half an hour after the final performance of their teaching artist residency program, students at the Holland School discovered a new-found belief in themselves.

To hear our students express pride, confidence, and pure joy for themselves after performing a script they in fact wrote and rehearsed for several weeks solidifies my belief that the theatrical process can indeed build self empowerment.

This amazing and active second grade class began their residency by hearing the story of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," but before we even got halfway through the book, the students asked "Why is the grinch so sad?" They were very concerned with what made him live all alone in the first place without family or friends. Their questions led us to ask them how they could help a friend who was sad or alone and what they could do if they were angry or left out. Suddenly, the story became universal and the students wrote skits about being excluded on the playground, chants about how to tell their parents when they are feeling sad, and a song about feeling lonely and looking to their families and teachers who give them a lot of love.

While I believe our students fully comprehended the meaning of the words they wrote, they couldn't imagine the effect of performing the words in front of a live audience until it actually happened. One student nearly jumped out of her skin the first time she heard the audience applaud - because it was for her! The power of theatre brought out the best in them and, in turn, gave them the lasting gift of self empowerment.

Click here to view the Holland School's A Lot of Love Song!

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