From the Mommy Files…

Cultivate and Encourage Kids’ Creativity and Imaginations

Posted on: May 20, 2010

OK, so this one is obviously not about my little characters. 😉 However, I really wanted to share this with you.

The other day, in preparation for an article I’m writing, I attended a performance of the Child’s Play Touring Theatre at a local Chicago school. The company is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

Child’s Play works with children through their schools and in camps, to cultivate and encourage their creativity and imagination. The group was the first theater company to realize the value of children’s own writing and exclusively perform stories and poems written by young authors. Through their programs, over the last 30 years, they’ve served more than four million children, educators and adults. Additionally, they’ve performed the original works of more than 15,000 young authors.

The other day, I attended a performance at a nearby elementary school. Since area schools significantly have cut arts programs, teachers at this school worked together to obtain a grant to bring in Child’s Play; the grant allowed them to bring music, drama and visual arts back to their school. This year, they focused on improving the children’s writing skills. Since last fall, Child’s Play has been working with the children, and helping them to use their imaginations and develop stories. Then they selected a few to perform on stage. Some of the short plays were written by single students and others by an entire class.

The kids worked for months to learn their lines and bring the stories to life. The performances included a piano playing-narrator (from Child’s Play), who tells the stories through some basic direction and music. There are a few backdrops, some basic props, and the kids act out the stories. The students just think they’re having a good time, but the entire process helps them to develop their writing skills; helps them in memorization; promotes confidence and self-esteem and even assists with public speaking abilities. Basically, it validates the kids in their talents and encourages them to excel. The program was quite enjoyable. It was evident that the kids enjoyed it. I was really impressed.

It’s such a great experience. I hope that someday my daughters will be able to take part in a program like this. Child’s Play also runs summer camps (around the country) and have programs at their local studio.

As I listen with frustration at all the latest school budget cuts, and think about all that our children are missing out on, it’s refreshing to learn about a program like this. Last week, I talked a lot (and posted on Facebook and Twitter) about how music enhances children’s learning. The arts help children excel, and create well-rounded individuals. I’m heartened by Child’s Play’s work with kids, and the determination of these teachers to being this experience to their students. It’s my hope that more schools will actively seek programs like this and find a way to bring them to our kids. It’s an important part of their education.

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1 Response to "Cultivate and Encourage Kids’ Creativity and Imaginations"

This really is such a sad deli ma all over the country! There are so many important lessons to be learned from the arts! Look at the diverse and creative world we live in! It all started with these programs! Thank you for sharing this bright spot!

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