I walked into the K-1 this just as a duck was having her feet trimmed. In preparation for their upcoming production of Crocodile Beat by Gail Jorgensen, one of the ducks was with her teacher, having a costume fitting. On the table behind them was a pile of handmade costumes and props, including a crocodile made from egg cartons. The hallway walls outside the classroom display their wildly expressive birds and lions, made when they weren’t rehearsing their play.
In the multipurpose room, the 30th Way-off Broadway rehearsals for the production of Impatient Caterpillar(s) by Ross Burach are underway. The 2nd-6th graders are gearing up for their second big performance of the summer, following their earlier dance showcase. Their posters, advertising it’s the 30th Way-off Broadway production, carried me back to the first one in 1990. It was a Seed interpretation of Peter and the Wolf, that included an orchestra of handmade paper maché instruments. Like many Seed traditions, the productions have evolved, yet always maintained a quality of ownership by the students. If the rehearsal of this year’s play is any indication, we have another delightful theatrical experience in store for us.
Looking back over this summer’s program, there are numerous positives. All classes for the entire summer were full, with consistent staffing for each of the two-week blocks. While students continued to produce beautiful art, there was less emphasis on product and more focus on process. Some of the most meaningful art/sensory experiences, especially in the younger classes, didn’t necessarily involve a product. In working this way, with a more open-ended approach, teachers were able to customize their studies and activities to the specific interests of their group. This gave teachers more time to also address needs of individual children, helping them to find greater ease emotionally and socially.
Other shifts this summer have been the emphasis on providing more movement opportunities for the kids, including establishing a movement room. All summer long, classes could take a break from their classrooms to interact with equipment that invited movement. The addition of the new dance block for the 2nd-6th graders got everyone excited about dancing. Next year we have plans to expand it to the K-1 class, just as we naturally did this summer, adding a theatrical performance for this group.
To meet the needs of our administrative staff, we’ve been remodeling the office area to create new work spaces. As of July 31, Bill will be transitioning away from being the business manager and focusing strictly on his maintenance tasks. His business manager responsibilities will be distributed amongst other administrative staff. Bill’s former office is now our resource room, to be used for student therapy services, conferences, and meetings. We anticipate this will be a wonderful new space in which to meet our students’ needs.
Another success of this summer was our annual food drive for Tanner Chapel. In addition to the usual generous collection of food, we were able to deliver a check for $1,000 from an anonymous donor. Other acts of generosity were noted, especially kind words from parents and supportive collaborations between staff members. When I think back on our 2019 summer program, fittingly called Layers: Art of Life at the Seed, I’ll remember how the Seed village came through on many layers to serve its precious collection of humans.