Right now, our faculty and students across various grade levels are in the beginning stages of determining, rehearsing, and ultimately performing, their class play. Although the performing arts season at GHS looks different this year, it is still steeped in tradition and years of preparation for many of our students, especially those in Middle School.
Middle School students, our most experienced thespians, in a normal year would put together a demanding musical which demonstrates their comfort with singing, dialogue, character, emotion, costumes, lighting, and makeup – all under the glare of stage lights and the gaze of parents and friends! This year’s Middle School production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be filmed by grade level and shared with the community this spring, but the fundamentals of a performing arts production at Green Hedges are still on display.How do they do it? The fact is these students have benefitted from the Green Hedges curriculum designed to provide practice, practice, and more practice at being in front of an audience.
It all starts with our Montessori Kindergarten classes, who prepare and present a short play entirely in French to their parents and siblings. After that, each year of instruction at Green Hedges includes a speaking role onstage in a performing arts production, beginning with the fairy tale-based plays of Grade 1 and continuing to the musicals of the Middle School. Even the most reticent of speakers are encouraged to find their voice before the footlights.
Echoing our comprehensive curriculum in other areas, we teach poise throughout the grades by repeated exposures in increasingly challenging ways. Grade 3 students perform as a historical figure each year in a virtual Wax Museum, and Grade 4 students put on the GHS State Fair celebrating many of the American states. In both, the integrated research across geography, history, and art is presented by the student “expert” to attendees. The students are encouraged to make eye contact, discuss the topic in an organized manner, and incorporate technology while sharing their knowledge with the questioner. By Grade 8, our students are moderating Opening and Closing assemblies in front of the entire student body and responding with ease to unexpected questions or occurrences.
These and many other intentional opportunities build the sense of poise that we begin to instill at an early age here at Green Hedges. By building self-confidence, character and balance, we are preparing our students with skills which will be important in high school classrooms, college seminars, and business meetings.