TRW Partnership Team & The Family School: Phase 2!

The TRW Partnership Team continues Drama Outreach Program with The Family School, P.S. 90, Bronx, NYC

TRW-Family-School-copyThe Theatrical Rights Worldwide Partnership Team was created in 2008 to provide human resources to schools in New York City that need a helping hand with their Arts programs. In October 2009 the Partnership Team began working with over sixty kindergarten, first and second graders from the Family School, coordinated through Music Specialist Justin Dayhoff and Principal Pamela Lee. The first session was a huge success, ending with an after school performance of several short plays.

After the success of the first session…the Morning Project took shape and by mid-January, over thirty Family School kids were ready to meet Mondays through Thursdays from 7:20-8:20am each morning to discover the fun and beauty of exploring acting through storytelling.  The time flew by as the class prepared to share what they experienced at an All School Assembly.

Each morning began with a physical warm-up, tongue-twisters, good old fashioned exercise and a menu of theatre games that quickly became favorites of the Family School kids. “What Are You Doing,” a game that teaches dramatic multi-tasking, focused the students on listening and reacting. The classic “Mirror” honed their eye for detail and observation. “Once Upon a Time” gave each student just one word to build a story together, and the runaway favorite, “I Am the Tree,” gave each child a unique place inside of an instantly improvised play.

Finally, on Friday, February 12th, the school auditorium was packed with students, teachers and parents who were treated to a demonstration of a what we accomplished each day in class and finished with a beautiful performance of “A Day at the Beach,” improvised through the “I Am the Tree” exercise.

Family School Kids play "I Am the Tree"

Family School Kids play "I Am the Tree"

Plans for the continuation of the partnership are underway with discussions for expanding the program. TRW believes firmly that every kid deserves a chance to reap the benefits of participating in the Arts. Our partnership with the Family School has proven to offer that opportunity to a group of very wonderful kids at P.S. 90.

TRW President and CEO Steve Spiegel has long been an advocate of Arts education. “We are delighted and proud to help introduce Arts participation into the lives of these wonderful young people at the Family School. Having our Partnership Team initiate this program here in our own neighborhood is a truly rewarding opportunity to experience firsthand the educational, social and interpersonal benefits that Theatre Arts bring to schools and their communities,” Spiegel said.

The TRW Partnership Team is built, in part,  on the findings and recommendations of the landmark study commissioned by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, “Coming Up Taller.” The president’s Committee produced this report to identify community programs in the arts and the humanities that reach at-risk children and youth and to describe the principles and practices that make these programs effective. “Coming Up Taller” calls attention to the variety and vitality of promising arts and humanities programs for children and youth. It also describes common characteristics that these programs share.

The Family School kids with the TRW Partnership Team

The Family School kids with the TRW Partnership Team

Distinguishing aspects of these programs is their ability to take full advantage of the capacity of the arts and the humanities to engage students. Beginning with this engagement, programs impart new skills and encourage new perspectives that begin to transform the lives of at-risk children and youth. Community arts and humanities programs provide crucial “building blocks” for children’s healthy development. These programs:

* Create safe places for children and youth where they can develop constructive relationships with their peers.

*Offer small classes with opportunities for youth to develop close, interactive relationships with adults.

*Place a premium on giving youth a chance to succeed as a way to build their sense of worth and achievement.

*Use innovative teaching strategies such as hands-on learning, apprenticeships and technology, often giving youth concrete job skills.

* Emphasize excellence and expose children to quality staff and programming.

* Build on what youth value and understand and encourage voluntary participation.

* Establish clear expectations and reward progress.

* Maintain sustained, regular programs upon which children can count and provide youth with opportunities to be valued community members.

“The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather paintings and poetry, music … design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.” –First Lady Michelle Obama