Right now, our Middle School students are hard at work in rehearsals for their performing arts production of “Macbeth: The Musical” which they will debut on Thursday, March 16th. Although the performing arts season at GHS culminates each year in May with the highly-anticipated Grade 1 play, the Middle School musical is a pinnacle of another sort.
These students, our most experienced thespians, put together a demanding musical each year 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! How do they do it? Although not quite adhering to Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hour Rule”, 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 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. All of our students also sing in our Winter Concert. Even the most reticent of speakers is 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.
The PTO’s March meeting will also focus on poise and performance. Join fellow parents for the meeting on March 14 at 8:15 AM.