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Hello everyone,

This e-mail is being sent to members of the Performing Arts Community Educators (PACES), as well as to some members of the community who have expressed an interest in the state of Arts Education in our School System.

On March 12, we held our first meeting, and were asked to e-mail our philosophies and goals in this area back to me.

I have distilled and slightly elaborated on those communications, and have come up with somewhat of a Mission/Condition statement.

I am passing it on to the members of the group and interested persons….for feedback and input.
We are aiming for a second meeting in the last week of April. Please let me know availability.

Thanks, and have a lovely day….

Nancy Hillman (Founder & former Director of Yelm’s Drew Harvey Theater)

Education and The Performing Arts

It is undeniable that the people of Yelm, Rainier and McKenna are concerned about the education of the children growing up in our community. Not just parents of school children, but all of us benefit from a well schooled student body. These are the citizens of tomorrow, and their development is in all our hands. Students spend a minimum of 7 hours a day away from home and in the school. In this second home, it is essential that our children receive a balanced education.

We believe with a great conviction that the goal of a full and well rounded education will be better achieved when the community understands the great good that will be achieved by encouraging the performing arts as part of our academic training. Unfortunately the performing arts are the first thing to go when the budget gets tight. If our administrators realized how many children can be reached in a positive way through the acceptance of the Performing Arts as a necessary and integral part of a K-12 academic education, we would never consider eliminating the Drama Elective, as is now being done, or being considered in three of our local public schools.

Every child, every person has a bit of genius in them to one degree or another. The Performing Arts, with their emphasis on individual creativity and self-expression is an essential tool for identifying and nurturing these potentials.

This training provides a vehicle for discovery and expression, two elements that contribute significantly to success in the material world…

Whenever I am around children or teenagers I ask, What do you love to do? I am always surprised at how many kids cannot tell me. They are set in an environment where they have to be so careful what they say, so as not to be made fun of and they are being conditioned not to think of those things. Being conditioned to think carefully about what is cool and accepted is tantamount to stuffing their own interests and feelings into convenient categories
Kayt Longshore, Ridgeline Middle School Drama Director

The performing arts, drama, music, movement can play a role in getting young people past this obstruction and into a clearer way of thinking. Breaking down a teens inhibitions is a way for a young person to face fears of looking or being foolish, and encourages risk-taking, which also opens them up their ability to understand and absorb standard academic subjects.
For, like sports, which is much supported and revered in our community, the practice of the Dramatic Arts, when taught by a qualified professional, is a mind-expanding and disciplined undertaking. The school sports programs hire trained coaches, but too often our drama programs are left in the hands of whichever teacher is willing to take it on, trained or not. A well-taught performance class is a constant rehearsal for the combination of creativity and self control, necessary practices which, when allowed to disappear in our classrooms, inevitably result in lowered interest and diminished grades.

Our community is fortunate to have at the present moment, working in our school system, from Elementary to High School, a group of dedicated and experienced educators in the field of Dramatic Arts. In order to promote our desire to have Drama take its rightful place in the school community, and be recognized as a vital tool in promoting good academics, mature minds, and greater self-esteem, we have banded together for mutual support and for the good of our children.

The group is called PACES (Performing Arts Community Educators). And our vision is to work for the acceptance of the Performing Arts as an important priority in our schools academic curriculum. A fine education in the art of theater spills over into numerous necessary academic areas, such as logical thinking, a knowledge of history, introduction to world culture, language skills, intelligent analysis, great literature, as well as the more obvious benefits of physical ease of movement, cooperation and relation with ones peers, overcoming personal inhibitions and the joyful experience of connecting with and effecting a live audience.
Let us open the minds and focus the creative energy of these wonderful kids in our community and let them shine .on stage.

For more information, contact:
Nancy Hillman (Founder & former Director of Yelm’s Drew Harvey Theater)



Posted by Steve on April 7, 2009 at 6:51 am | Permalink

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