What do you get when you put a bunch of silly actors in a room with 40 exuberant children between the ages of 3 – 5? Answer: Our fun-filled visit to The Kingsley School this morning!
Last October we ended our 2008 Thumbelina tour at The Kingsley School, and sincerely could not wait to come back. Every stop on our tour is special in its own way, but The Kingsley School has achieved a reputation in our little ensemble as being one of the most participatory, and delightful group of characters. It was such a joy to see all our friends again, and meet some kind new faces, both small and tall.
Our contact at Kingsley is Mary Ann Lewis. She’s become like an old friend to us now, so hospitable and open-armed.
The Kingsley School for Child Development is a progressive special education school. Just like last year, we were amazed and impressed with the extraordinary behavior of these children. You have to picture it, they’re in quite a large group, and here they are hollering their heartfelt “Ahoys!” and “Arggghhhhs!”, and yet they remain seated, focused, and delightful the entire time. Trust me, these kids are amazing.
Our resident pirate Josh was actually thrown by the amount of audience participation at first! But it’s such a delight to hear their excitement, one tends to adjust pretty quickly.
What’s more, they are all such darling little social butterflies. They don’t hesitate to come up to us afterward and tell us all about their drawings, and what they thought about the show. A poised little boy named Aaron sat next to me in the audience, and hardly by accident. After making sure I knew his name without mistake, he’d presented me, so very proudly, with his drawing of a pirate ship.
A few other boys ventured to create pirate ships of their own, and handed them over to us for our on-line gallery!
One staff member was sharing her story about prepping the kids for our upcoming performance. They spend many, many days creating projects which are educational and fun, but also develop skills for the children. One of these projects was a paper mosaic of a crab, in which the young artist choose two colors, but also give their motor skills a workout but pasting on tiny pieces of paper. In walking through the halls, there were sea creatures everywhere! An “O is for Octopus” display in the hall, and crab and squid drawings every which way. These projects are accompanied by lessons on the creatures themselves.
We found these paper squids to be so creatively exquisite!
As to aid with literacy training, we provide a fun post-show quiz which helps spark conversation and interest in the kids. We do one for every show which is available on our website, and can even be downloaded in PDF format.
All in all, this was a fantastic way to start the month of May! A great big thank you goes out to the remarkable staff at The Kingsley School and all the delightful children who helped us make a cloudy early Friday bright and sunny. We can’t wait to see you all again soon!
Next stop for us – Jacobi Medical Center. Look out Bronx – here we come!!!