Arts Find a Place in Core Curriculum at Shawnee

Arts Find a Place in Core Curriculum at Shawnee
Posted on 05/16/2019
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Shawnee ECS students performing Peter and the Wolf

For teacher Rebecca Striet, the arts don’t have to be limited to the art room every six days.

In fact, the Shawnee ECS kindergarten teacher is so committed to intersecting the arts with the core curriculum that she teamed up with colleague Katie Welch to give their 50 kindergartners the invaluable experience of performing a full-scale re-enactment of “Peter and the Wolf.”

“I am so passionate about the arts and making the arts accessible to all children,” said Striet, noting how her own childhood experience with a dance company went as far as to shape her career path. “I am very happy that Lakota brought back daily specials for kindergarten, but I consider this my personal contribution to my students’ fine arts early childhood education.”

After reading several different versions of the symphonic children's fairy tale, students were assigned a role, at random. For two weeks, students were given 30 minutes each day to work together and prepare not only their lines, but also their costumes, sets and music. On May 9, they performed their production before a gym full of Shawnee staff and parents.

For Striet’s students, the experience was a second one this year, following their earlier performance of “The Nutcracker.” While theatrics teaches her students many skills they’ll use into their adult life, Striet zooms in on the maturity it instills in them. It’s why she addresses them as professional performers throughout the entire experience.

She also plans to continue the tradition because of the impact it has on her parents.

“Parents see their children in a way they might not have ever expected to see them,” Striet explains. “They are all stars in their parents’ eyes already, but seeing them perform with a group of their peers is different. They truly can see the value and joy the arts can bring to people’s lives.”