Christmas Unwrapped – Joy in the Arts

(Day 2) – For those that are new to this thread, the Unwrapping Christmas is a challenge that we have given to ourselves in which we will share new stories about Providence School of Arts as a way of “Rejoicing in the Lord always.” (Phil 4:4)  Here’s day 2.

Joy in the Arts

This past semester we were able to attend the World War I museum at the Liberty Memorial. It was a great opportunity for the kids to learn a little bit about history, but was a very heavy topic to end the day with. So, Mrs. Chapman and I decided that it would be a good idea to visit the Kansas City Ballet in order to pep things back up. In classic Mr.
Oatis style, I thought this visit would be a great opportunity for the kids to see a beautiful piece of history and architecture…but the kids had different plans.

As we walked through the building and passed the dance studios, the kids caught a glimpse of the company dancers in rehearsal. The students  stopped and were immediately mesmerized by what was happening. They said with excitement, “Mr. Oatis, they are dancing on their toes!” I said, “Yes, remember they are dancing with special shoes called pointe shoes.” And of course, the kids tried to dance on their toes too. 🙂  I next invited the children into an empty studio to show them a great architectural artifact that I love, but they could not help themselves, “they went to town.”  The kids began dancing as if they were rehearsing for their part in the Nutcracker. There were leaps, turns, kicks, and rolls. There was so much creative energy and inspiration in the room that it was hard to ask them to stop. The kids were having such a great time.

I share this story because there is something special about what the arts provide children…..JOY! Sure I can go into a deep discussion about how the arts complement other academic subjects, help behavior, focus, etc. and even throw out some data too. But I believe the biggest benefit for children is, the opportunity to be joyful.

It goes without saying that the arts are a large focus of our school. We have summer arts camps, arts classes during the school day, and more recently classes for children 0-5 yrs. In just the elementary program alone, our students have been able to participate in 147 hours of arts classes this semester.  It truly is a blessing that we are able to provide children these opportunities and to help them experience the impact of the arts; they are experiencing joy.

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