Theatre in Our Schools Month is once again upon us! The American Alliance for Theatre Education, also known as AATE, defines this special month as “a celebration of theatre in our schools and schools in our theatres… the goals of TIOS are to raise public awareness of the impact of theatre education and draw attention to the need for more access to quality programs in and out of school for all students”. Sponsored by AATE, the Educational Theatre Association, and the International Thespian society, the month of March is a time to remind ourselves of the invaluable role that theatre plays in our students’ educations and overall development.
According to educator and author Zaretta Hammond, “It turns out the brain is wired for stories. Why? When we are being told a story or are telling it, the brain’s neurons light up not only in the language processing parts of the brain but in other regions just as if we were performing the action ourselves”. Storytelling is an essential tool for engaging our students in any kind of lesson, and theatre is a perfect vehicle to practice that skill through. Additionally, “Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork”. In a country where access to the arts has been routinely limited and disposed of in our schools, devoting time this month to recognizing the necessity of theatre and theatre educators can help us all remember why we are passionate about ensuring the arts remain a regular part of our curriculums.
The Orlando Repertory Theatre is joining the conversation by spotlighting theatre educators in Orange County on our website the entire month of March. Stop by our blog to meet the artists who are bringing the joy of theatre to your students, and learn from the experts why theatre matters.
- Why Arts Education Is Crucial, and Who’s Doing It Best | Edutopia
- Celebrate Theatre in Our Schools Month this March | Music Theatre International (mtishows.com)
- Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain Zaretta Hammond