A Ship up on the Stairs: A Project in Creative Dramatics
Holder, Rebecca Bloomquist
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The first problem one encounters in starting a creative dramatics program in an elementary school is misunderstanding on the part of adults - teachers, principals, and supervisors. Even though Winifred Ward started her work in dramatics in Illinois in the nineteen-thirties, dramatics in most schools has been confined to putting on "skits for PTA open houses and Christmas pageant assemblies. Armstrong School in Hampton, Virginia is no exception. When I first began talking about the idea, many people thought that I wanted to produce children's theater. One person suggested that I might better explore the idea with the community theater. Even when I explained creative dramatics, I got the impression that some people thought that "acting" was not really a proper subject for the fourth grade. Armstrong is very much like the elementary school which I attended in West Virginia in l958. Its self-contained classrooms with alphabet and handwriting charts around the top of the blackboard are a far cry from the open classroom experiments that are being carried out in many parts of the country. I did, however, find that the principal and most teachers are very concerned about quality education and are open to new ideas and programs.
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