What an incredibly full month it has been here at Theatre Direct. I got to spend a week with Rhona Mattheson from Starcatchers where we had extensive talks about early years work with Storytellers, artists, and many other professionals in the creative community. My favorite part of her visit was the talk given that Theatre Direct organized at the Ontario Arts Council. It was just such an amazing experience to be in a room full of such a diverse group of people interested in what creating art for the early years means, how important it is, and engaging in conversation about it.
Another highlight this month was getting to visit the Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy on two separate occasions. Once was to tour the brand new building, made with the utmost thought and detail for the approximately 700 kindergarten students who go to school there in the Thorncliffe Community. The building is truly immaculate. It’s one of the most inspired buildings I have ever seen because every inch was designed with the thought “how can this benefit the 4 and 5 year old’s who will be attending” from the coded numbers and letters on the outside of the building – to the ramps and soft play atrium area on the inside. It’s honestly amazing. The second trip to Fraser Mustard was to do a teacher training in preparation for a very large residency project – The Firefly Project – that Theatre Direct is facilitating at the school. Watching Lynda Hill speak about the vision of the project, and run exercises with the teachers got me excited to be able to observe this massive and important project.
The teacher training drama workshop also got me thinking about the fast approaching beginning of Drama School here at Theatre Direct. I will be teaching a 3-term long after school program called the Wednesday Ensemble for children grade 3 – 6. After having worked intensively with children full time for 12 weeks this last summer at Seattle Children’s Theatre, it was nice to have a break and to be in the office aiding in coordinating education programs… but I am definitely now anxiously awaiting the beginning of my program. I miss the kids!!! Also Saturday morning drama club begins the same week and I will be observing Lynda in her class with the JK-SK’s to see some early years work in action!
Melissa Haddad – Metcalf Foundation Education Intern