JPS Elementary School Students Have Opportunity to Unleash Their Imaginations Through Theater

Bush Elementary School second graders had the unique opportunity to unleash their imaginations with a performance of “Just So Stories” based on stories of Rudyard Kipling presented by the Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre. Jamestown Schools is partnering with Merry-Go-Round Youth Theater to give all elementary school students the opportunity to see, and participate, in live theater that directly relates to their classroom curriculum.

“The arts-in-education component of JPS students’ education has been sporadic in recent years,” said JPS Superintendent Tim O. Mains “Some students received multiple arts opportunities and others did not. We expect that our partnership with the Merry-Go-Round Youth Theater will help all students to be engaged in the arts. Not only are they receiving arts education, the program also meets the Common Core Learning Standards that the students are already learning in the classroom.”

Before each performance, the actors visited individual classrooms to explain what happens in the plays with the learning targets of the standards in mind. The intent in the Pre-Performance Workshop is to introduce them to the language, characters, settings and type of story they will see. Students should then be able to make their own predictions about what they will see in the show, allowing for critical thinking to continue throughout the performance.

Each grade level receives a different program from the Youth Theater. Kindergarteners see “The Happy Circus” where students become part of a circus by mimicking animals. Students also learn about following directions, working as a group, and creatively using their imaginations as we teach them about musical instruments and animals.

First graders watch “The Golden Goose” revolving around the Brothers Grimm and become “citizens” in the land of the Golden Goose. Students become hunters, Firefighters, clowns, soldiers, bakers, and elders through sound and motion and learn that it takes many people with different talents to make a town work.

Third graders explore the world of China through “The Magic Paintbrush,” which is adapted from an ancient folktale told in the oral tradition and how it relates to modern-day superhero stories. 

Fourth graders learn more about the Native American tradition with a performance of  “There Once Was a Longhouse.” Students actively become part of life in an Iroquois village.

“At every grade level we have the opportunity to create a distinctive theatre experience that is tailored to the needs of both students and educators,” said Lisa Myers, Artistic Director of Youth Theatre.  “Each year, students will see and hear stories shared in unique ways; we know that student exposure to diverse theatre styles creates well-rounded theatre appreciators. Our productions aim to capture the students’ imaginations and to give them the opportunity to see themselves or the world in a different way. We are thrilled that Jamestown Public Schools share our belief that the arts are a necessary part of education, and are looking forward to our Arts-in-Education partnership with JPS for many years to come.”  

The largest youth theatre in Upstate New York and one of the largest in the country, The Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre reaches more than 125,000 students across the state through its curriculum based multi-discipline Sequential Dramatics Program. The Youth Theater chooses productions that compliment the subject matter to help teachers and students in meeting the Common Core Learning Standards. The program addresses state standards for The Arts, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Career Development & Occupational Studies.

posted on 04/07/2015 - filed under: Academics, Art, Common Core, Elementary School, Spotlight, Students