As always, there are many exciting things going on in the START (Students Teaching in the Arts) program! This program trains Dartmouth students to volunteer in Upper Valley classrooms to enhance learning through arts integration. We have three classrooms for the winter, and eight energetic volunteers creating weekly activity plans to synthesize school curriculum with the arts. Almost 40 percent of our START volunteers are new to the program, having completed training at the beginning of term.
We love every one of our START partner schools, and are excited to have a new classroom join our START family: For the first time, we are working with Jessica Loeffler, who teaches a fifth-grade class at Bradford Elementary School, VT. Volunteers Doug Phipps ‘17 and Caroline Filan ‘18 are helping Loeffler engage her students in the scientific topic of matter, through any and all mediums of art.
At Mid Vermont Christian School, we have Elizabeth Terman ’19, Laya Indukuri ’19 and Max Farrens ’20 teaching a combined second/third grade in Cheryl Blessing’s classroom. These volunteers use their creative minds to come up with integrated activity plans in international current events through global music, traditions, architecture and beyond!
In Keenan Haley’s third-grade class at Sharon Elementary School, VT, Annie Medina ’18, Halley Angel ’18 and Steffi Colao ’19 are focusing their arts activities on the topic of empathy. They use tactics in visual arts to encourage open-mindedness and then dance with the class to embody the process of understanding each other’s emotions.
These types of activities allow START to work with students and help them experience academic subjects in new and unparalleled ways using theater, dance, music and visual arts. It is incredible to see the students within the classroom create webs of knowledge between math and the movement of the body, or the Civil Rights movement and theatrical improvisation.
The START program has a great impact on its volunteers as well. Steffi Colao ’19 said, START has “helped me be better at thinking on my feet, adapting to different personalities and being conscious of everyone’s backgrounds.” Not only this, but the value of working with children in constructive and innovative ways is always a powerful experience. Because of this, START is excited for our new applicants for Spring term 2017. Applications are due February 16 at midnight! Visit our page to apply!