Stories from the Field
Enjoy this latest blog from A4L Teaching Artist, dancer/choreographer Jennifer Puig.
Ms. Puig is currently leading Creative Expression sessions at Miller Drive Park, as part of the Youth Arts in the Parks – All Kids Included Saturday Program.
This year’s Fall YAPP AKI Program at Miller Drive Park has been working with the wonderful theme of “The Five Senses,” a theme that colors the lives of every participant in the program, in a variety of different ways. By coming together every Saturday for the past three weeks, the students, volunteers, teaching artists and most of our parents, have embarked on a creative journey where creative movement and dance takes place at the beginning of each session, incorporating morning stretches, dancing to rhythms from different parts of the world, and engaging in fun, funky energizers that involve moving like fruits, vegetables and sharks; waking up all of our senses.
Each student has had an opportunity to share what the senses mean to them, and put their ideas into practice in the form of songs, stories or movements. After only three weeks, most of the students seem eager to share their ideas and a little bit more about themselves with their “new friends,” each and every time. Last week alone, all groups collaborated for a whole day to learn about theater etiquette, and had a blast taking turns “performing” for one another, as well as playing the role of the audience to prepare for our fieldtrip to the Miami Theater to watch an Alice in Wonderland play.
I was so happy to witness students from different park programs greeting, playing and talking with one another. The program itself has not ended yet, and already parents are asking about the upcoming term and how to enroll their children for another creative process experience. Some of the students in my group, who had previously acted shy and retracted, now are at the forefront, leading their group in activities and songs in a very confident matter. By combining two of the groups, the students have also had the opportunity to share magical moments with students that vary in age, providing a very inclusive environment, where “everybody matters” and “everybody has something to express.”
We are looking forward to the following weeks, where we will gather collectively for a Costume Parade, rehearsals and bringing all of our ideas together to put on a magical culminating event for our friends and family. It is always a pleasure to witness the growth of the kids and the involvement of the parents in their children’s creative process. We all hope that this creative process continues to live in the life of each child, not only for the remainder of the program, but for the rest of their lives, coloring all their senses with the knowledge of how wonderful it is to create, share and reflect as a family – our very own AKI family!
Truly and Sincerely Yours,
Teaching Artist Jennifer Puig