Tree of Life is a progressive school which offers project-based learning which is significant and integrated, following the Reggio Emilia ideology and working across age-groups. We promote STEAM, (Science Technology Engineering Art & Mathematics) habits and values. All of this comes together in the Musical, and after 8 years of different productions, we have observed many benefits in the lives of the students and families who participate.
Our musical finds its roots, not as an artistic project, but in the English Department’s efforts to help students improve their pronunciation and diction, build vocabulary, learn syntax and develop practical skills like voice projection, expressive intonation and assertiveness.
However, as we implemented drama as a learning aid, we observed benefits that went far beyond teaching English. Dr. Luis E. Catron describes 25 benefits that theater offers, which include:
Communication skills; creative problem solving; the ability to make an effort, not only to finish something, but to finish it well; motivation and commitment; team work; independence; interdependence; time management; the ability to take an initiative; respect for deadlines; ability to learn rapidly and accurately; respect for colleagues; respect for authority; flexibility and adaptability; ability to work under pressure; promotion of a healthy self-image; acceptance in the face of failure and the ability to get up afterwards and try again; self-discipline; goal-setting; concentration; dedication; responsibility; leadership; self-confidence; the ability to enjoy hard work; and much more. To read more on Dr. Catron’s findings, click on this link: https://theatreanddance.appstate.edu/students/prospective-students/25-life-skills-learned-theatre
At TOLIS, we believe in the importance of a different type of education, and we have found that drama is a tool that helps us meet the needs of our students, preparing them with the skills they need to be able to meet whatever the future holds.
We believe it is important that students see their classmates doing things that are challenging, that are outside their natural comfort zone. Not only does going to the musical help us teach our children to enjoy the arts, strengthening their imagination and creativity, it also challenges their self-image. As students watch their friends try something different, something that might be scary – like speaking in public – they become empowered and begin to entertain the thought of one day taking the same risks. We believe that many of these benefits of drama can be experienced by participating, even when it is participation that is passive, as a member of the audience.
TOLIS is also a learning community, where learning values like empathy, solidarity and respect is important.
Unfortunately, some parents do not at first recognize the benefit of this type of learning, or have the attitude that if their child does not participate, there is no need to attend. For this reason, attendance at the musical was obligatory as one of the many cultural activities of the school, whether students’ participation was active or passive.
The video by Spotlight Producciones is being sold now for C20,000.oo only for TOLIS families. Profits will be used for the drama department. For orders, please contact Katalina Soto.
To be part of Tree of Life is to believe in a different education, and to be part of this dream causes us to think differently, to create more and to think in terms of stretch goals. We want to thank the TOLIS families for their support in reaching these goals. In future years, we hope to continue working in musicals that showcase what our students are capable of doing.
We believe that we can take this project to businesses that can join us in our goal of promoting the development of skills and values in our young people. In the future, we hope that corporate sponsors will help us with the financial cost which this ambitious program carries.