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Developmental Drama, connecting with the heart and mind

Arts in Education is a dance of the heart and mind. If we care (heart) about what we do and structure our work to form a through line (mind) that others can understand the experience is fulfilling for both the participant and the observer.

Another magical moment swept into the Montessori School of Calgary as the Lower Elementary children took all past lessons and summarized skill, image and phrases. They called out words (Nebulae, gravity, nuclear fusion, meteorite), defined star stages with hoops, showed snow formation with cloth and built a country landscape with shields. I believe they impressed themselves!

Thank you, children, for the complete trust and enthusiasm! Seventy-five minutes later we awoke from our creative haze with pride and excitement! Next lesson the “No culture” will loom before us.

Fools are intriguing. Folk tales around the world use the Fool as the anti-hero that has much to teach us through his/her trials and tribulations. Clowning is near and dear to me because of my friends Fif and Hamish (MedDi Clown Academy) who have extensive theatrical backgrounds and a solid medical clowning practice in India. Internationally known for their remarkable ability to alleviate pain and instill hope, they are masters in their Tom Foolery. It got me thinking…..

What if the Upper Elementary students created a Fool story? What if the Fool went on a quest to find his/her strength by discovering a spirit animal? Could the mask they are designing become a guide in the journey? So many choices!!! Through emotional mapping the process has begun!

Sample: A student offered a reluctant hero story. Two kingdoms were having a competition. The winner receives a good percentage of land and money from the other. Oh no! Accidentally, the Fool was chosen to represent his country. The volcano obstacle just about finished him! An invisible giant snake saved the day….And this was just the beginning!

Sample: Another idea stemmed from creating a sequel to the “Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Brave story seekers found their way to deciphering what happened next in this rich possibility.

Sample: Two other teams explored the role of outcast from a tyrannical leadership where celebrating individuality was punished.


Get ready Upper Elementary students! Red noses and silliness must return for us to find the great laughter that spurs the Fool on in treacherous times. Every story must have its shadow and light. Humour will heal us all!

One thing is for certain, all will find a transformative moment to celebrate and savour!

When heart and mind connect, the dance is as varied as its creator. The rhythm and rhymes echo the messages that the teller must tell!

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