YORKTON – An audience of around 60 people gathered at Dr. Brass on the evening of June 15 for the opening night of School Daze.
"It was great – everybody was so happy and excited to be out looking at real art in person and not online," said Patti Zerr, Vice Principal, Visual Arts Academy teacher, and extra-curricular drama teacher.
"Considering the age of the kids – they just handled the script and the pressures of performing so well," said Zerr.
The 35 minute show was made up five students from grade six and one grade five student.
"They had to create over 17 different characters – just the six of them," said Zerr, adding, "I was really proud of their work – they had to figure out dramatically how to change their body and voice and stature – and all the things that create different people."
Zerr said she was happy with the performances of the students but also happy to have parents back in schools post-COVID.
"It's really nice to have parents back in our schools again – that was one thing that really made me happy – was seeing families come back in the building again," said Zerr, adding, "it's so important for parents to be able to come and see what their kids are learning."
The performance was part of Dr. Brass's extra-curricular drama which holds practices at noon hours but the school also offers performing arts curricular classes.
"It's really unusual for a school to have those types of classes within your school day with experts in that arena," said Zerr, adding, "your child actually gets to experience and live their passion within their school day."
"We juggle curricular minutes and we embed outcomes and learning into the way that they can show us they're learning in these different streams," said Zerr.
"For example I'm teaching the Visual Art Academy, we're doing a social studies project – they have a choice – they can do a PowerPoint or they can do a painting or an art piece," said Zerr, adding, "that's actually really cool because it gives kids a lot of ways to show they've learned."
"We're governed by the Ministry of Education and the guidelines there – so we have to adhere to that – which makes our day pretty rigorous to be honest – it's busy," said Zerr.
"Kids need to be busy in schools – they need to be engaged," said Zerr, "I think, coming out of COVID, it's really shown us that we need to get back into life – and kids are enjoying being back in classrooms and learning and growing and challenging themselves."
"We're still doing ELA and Math, we're having all the regular classrooms – but in those school days we're embedding a way of learning that sort of speaks to their passion," said Zerr, adding, "it will keep kids in school and sort of keep them engaged in a time when the feeling is it's hard to get back out of COVID, but when you get to live your passion within your day your week goes pretty quickly."
As part of the year end for the Visual Arts Academy, the school will be holding an art walk on the 27th of June from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm with an entry fee of $2 with proceeds going to the Visual Arts program at the school.
"You can just walk throughout the halls of the school, there will be art on every wall throughout the whole school," said Zerr.