- That the arts must be present in every classroom, every day.
- That story is a key to cross-cultural awareness, and the goals of Social Justice and Equity can be furthered through active understanding of each others’ stories.
- That the focused methods we train teachers to use are powerful tools for teaching concepts and content from ELA to STEM.
- That in their broadest and best sense, drama and active arts training is training for Life – building kinesthetic, creative, social/emotional and critical thinking skills that support all other areas of learning and often are the key to reaching students who struggle in school.
- That teachers who learn to use these simple yet powerful tools, even in very brief periods during the school day, are fostering a more happy, alert and empathetic environment, for themselves and their classes.
The main focus of all our professional development programs, including our very successful Make A Dramatic Difference In Your Classroom™ workshops, is integrated arts education and how it fits into the overall picture of childhood and youth development. Since our founding in 1990 BAYFEST staff have worked with teachers and gone into classrooms to promote the use of movement, drama, and other active arts techniques in conjunction with classroom activities and curriculum-linked projects to help address a variety of learning, social/emotional, and classroom management goals. All our methods are aligned with Common Core and other district standards and can be easily adapted and applied in any classroom to address issues of concern such as:
- enlivening and extending classroom learning activities around specific curriculum points, including math and science, ELA, world events, etc.
- dealing with transitions between activities.
- addressing a broad range of social/emotional issues including anger and stress management, bullying, diversity and social justice.
- giving struggling students a badly-needed outlet for creative energies that will engage and involve them with the rest of the group and the curriculum.
- getting all students to benefit from activities that get them out of their seats in a controlled way that furthers whole-class learning through imaginative/dramatic exercises that provide expanded ways of understanding the material, provide new models of excellence in the classroom, and preparing young thinkers to ask better questions.
What teachers and administrators have said:
- “Using these exercises, I have seen my students quickly go from bored to engaged, from tired to alert, from unfocused to “in-the-moment” and ready to work. As far as my classroom is concerned, [the exercises] have definitely made teaching and learning more fun.”
- “Students of all backgrounds and abilities were able to experience success and find alternative ways to demonstrate their learning. Student engagement increased, and simultaneously classroom behavioral issues declined.”
- “I found the BAYFEST staff to be highly responsive to teachers and able to work with a variety of personalities and approaches. They were able to collaborate and plan with staff so that existing curriculum was illuminated and extended.”
Clear experience, supported by many studies with young people of all ages, shows that arts training in general and that highly kinesthetic ‘active arts’ specifically can have a profound impact on students, fostering skills that carry over into many other areas of academic learning. Besides providing a much-needed creative outlet, these techniques can specifically address a broad range of skills and assets including cognitive abilities, language skills, physical awareness, concentration, imagination/creativity, empathy, and self-confidence. Changes brought about by student participation in these kinds of activities have been noticed by families and teachers, who have reported clear jumps in reading comprehension, verbal skills and willingness to learn. In this way, the training ties in with and directly supports the whole educational and developmental process.
The goal of all our programs is to expand students’ experience, show them new ways of learning and perceiving, and help grow more diverse models for excellence in the classroom. Engaging all students’ creative spirits will help enliven their total educational experience and open the door to a future where anything is possible.