by Alex McDonald
This year Forest Avenue elementary school and Mulready elementary school have introduced a new drama program to their students.
This program, led by Sara Worrest, plans to teach the students about a range of acting techniques. “We are doing some pantomime work. We are doing a lot of really basic storytelling premise, so what makes up a story, how is storytelling and drama the same, what’s different about writing a story versus performing a story. That’s a lot of the curriculum,” Worrest said.
This new class should prepare students for future drama classes as well. “I think what it’s going to do, in terms of the drama programs in the middle school and high school, is it’s going to give a really solid foundation and help to inspire the kids,” Worrest said. “If they have a certain amount of base knowledge from having drama in elementary school, then they would get to go further into things when they are in middle and high school,” Worrest said.
Third grader Kari Flood was one of the many students that was inspired. “Yeah, it is probably one of my favorite classes. I want to be an actress,” Kari Flood said.
Kari’s mom is also happy about this new class and hopes to learn more about it. “I just would like to be able to see what they are doing. I wish there was a chance to get parents in to watch,” Marie Flood said.
Although this class has changed the schedule, the transition has been smooth. “The students have drama during some of what we call common planning time, but the kids know it as their ‘extra special,’ so they have a sixth special during the week, and I am a part of the rotation of the sixth special. Also at Mulready school, I am teaching during their reading block, so I pull small groups of students to do readers theatre as a part of their reading curriculum,” Worrest said.
Worrest presents the curriculum in ways that interest the kids. “We usually play a game, like ‘Who’s Who.’ We are in a circle, and we stand up. We have to nod at each other, and when we get eye contact with each other, we nod our heads, and then we swap places,” Kari Flood said.
The kids, while they don’t perform for families, are in small plays. Worrest wrote a play for the third graders at Mulready elementary school about the first Thanksgiving. The kids used really basic props and costumes and really simple stage directions to put on this short play. The play was a class effort and was part of the drama program.
The kids and parents love the new class, and there is high hopes from the staff. “I work really closely with both Ms. Cherry and Ms. McKenzie, and we’re just giving a really good foundation, that may allow kids to do a little more in middle school and high school, or maybe deeper work as opposed to different work, if they have a certain amount of base knowledge from having drama in elementary school,” Worrest says.