From A Child’s Point of View project brings drama into 4th-grade classrooms where students are learning how human activities impact planet Earth.
When drama is offered in support of this part of the core curriculum, students are thrilled to discover that they can use gesture and voice, laughing, speaking loudly, and speaking softly, and moving their bodies as if at play as they step inside an event that dramatizes the subject being studied. For instance, habitat loss.
What happens when a wild animal like a bear or a cougar comes down from the hills into someone’s backyard in search of food? Stepping into the action is where engagement begins and cognitive learning takes root. Using their own words and bringing their prior knowledge to a scene, students discover a kind of audacity fueled by a yearning for understanding and skills, and a desire to solve very big and very real challenges of our lives today.
The project culminates in students making a drawing reflecting their ideas about the work they have done in Drama World. The drawings are then translated into a public art installation. Through their work students invite the Bellingham community to see what they are thinking about, worrying about, and what they intend to do about plummeting bio-diversity, plastics in the oceans, and climate change.
The Covid-19 pandemic that shut down their schools, and the smoke from fires as close as western Washington and as far away as California that burned eyes and made breathing hurt, is a call for all hands on deck to invent, create, and think up new ways to construct a better way to live. The work of these 4th-graders is evidence that they are ready, able, and willing to do so.