Authored by Jessica May, Youth Services Afterschool Coordinator at Copper Hills Elementary
It’s common knowledge that people have different interests. Some people carry the great athlete gene and are able to shoot 3 pointers, or score touchdowns. Others can create beautiful visual art or play multiple instruments. Actors and actresses can create amazing plays for us to watch. It doesn’t matter what it is, but each of us have our catch that helps us to build confidence and feel like a talented person. For this blog, I’m going to focus on theater education.
Research says that students who participate in theater typically have higher reading comprehension skills and scores. It also is known to help raise SAT scoring by about 65 points. When kids participate in a drama program at school, they actually want to be at school more often and it positively impacts their attendance. Performing can also help students raise their confidence and self-esteem. According to the American Alliance for Theater and Art website (http://www.aate.com/?page=effects), 93 percent of Americans believe that the arts are essential to a complete education. Yet the National Center for Education Statistics website: (http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/frss/publications/95082/3.asp) states that only 8% of elementary schools have a separate teacher or specialist to teach theater.
Copper Hills Afterschool Program had the privilege and opportunity to work with the Utah Children’s Theater during our second session of classes. We had 13 brave 4th-6th grade students’ sign up for an experience I hope they never forget. Twice a week, Megan Atterman came from the Children’s Theater to work on a project for her thesis. During each class, Megan took notes and parts of the student’s stories and turned it into a script. This script became their story. It was through that process they wrote their own play; a play about their lives, their wishes, their dreams, their imagination and, of course, Bacon-Ham-Lincoln. As the Afterschool Program coordinator, what I loved most about this class was watching the kids gain confidence in them and realize that they have something to share. I loved watching the relationship grow and to see a set of kids who normally wouldn’t interact become friends.
Our theater class has come to an end, but the relationships and confidence of those students who participated is continuing. If you would like more information about our Afterschool Programs please contact Danielle Latta, Program Manager for Salt Lake County Youth Services at 385-468-4500.