When students own the learning process, they take more pride in learning, develop personal connections to what they are learning, and are more likely to internalize and retain content. Our dramatic arts program rests on the fundamentals of performance-based creative learning and designing. Theatre reaches each student on some level; it uncovers ideas, emotions and creativity not previously tapped. By integrating drama with core subjects, we deepen the learning experience, and students not only learn the history, literature and facts of a subject, but also form ties and impressions that will last a lifetime.
Beginning in the second grade, we use drama to teach students to speak clearly and confidently in a group and alone. Each year thereafter, we build on the creative structure by adding skills. Students work toward a fully produced and realized original work in the sixth grade. The seventh and eighth grade electives move into specific aspects of character development, storytelling and musical integration.
Other examples of how we integrate drama into the classroom are third graders performing original fables, seventh grade science students animating the periodic table by performing as “element superheroes,” and eighth graders modernizing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream to help them internalize a scene's meaning and practice adding emotion to delivery.