Watching our Elementary students present A Midsummer Night’s Dream one could not help but be impressed by the individual performances and by everything about the production. How wonderful that our students were undaunted by Shakespeare, and that they succeeded in transporting their audience to the Athenian forest.
The arts are an essential part of education, inspiring students to test the limits of their imaginations and think creatively. Being part of a theatre production offers students the reward of individual and collaborative success; it teaches them the value of teamwork, which will be an essential part of almost everything they undertake in life.
The key to a successful performance is that everyone – the leads and the chorus, the costumers and carpenters, makeup artists and tech crew (and even the prompter) – do their best, and do it in synch with the rest of the team. It’s hard to launch into your soliloquy if a teammate has not delivered the cue line.
Some years ago, I sailed from Key West to Bermuda aboard the 125-foot schooner Westward with a group of college students enrolled in the SEA Semester program. One of the most important things they learned during their twelve weeks together was teamwork. If you are trying to deploy sensitive scientific gear over the side, your success depends on your classmates who are at the helm and backing the sails to hold the ship steady in the rolling sea.
For some of those college students this was a new concept; they were used to being individual stars and viewed academic success as a competition. On Westward they learned to value their interdependence. Our Montessori students learn this lesson every day, and especially through their experience with the arts. How fortunate they are!