Friday, May 06, 2011

Theater, Community and Confidence

Last night I had the privilege of attending the high school play.  The students performed Les Miserables with talent, confidence and passion.  I was amazed to see those I knew as young fourth graders stand on the stage with pride and skill.  I was also reminded that much of the complexity a fourth grader might face turns into competence with the chance to refine skills and build passion in safe, nurturing environments led by talented, passionate mentors.

I feel the same way when I attend a high school sports event, musical performance, community service gathering or scholastic presentation.  I am always amazed at my former students' accomplishments.  I attribute their success to the fact that families and our school community purposefully work together to provide and direct children towards activities and opportunities that develop their personal interests and skills.  These opportunities also serve to develop students' social networks.

At each level in our school system, energy and planning are focused on developing students' interests, skills, knowledge and talents in developmentally appropriate ways.  Like building blocks, one school level builds upon another to help students meet potential and attain knowledge and skill in a variety of arenas including sports, theater, music, dance, community service and more.

Next time a student in my class presents a complex situation, I will remind myself of the students on the stage last night.  Steady, kind, thoughtful support in a developmentally appropriate ways fosters students' positive growth -- it's a step-by-step, student-centered approach.