Interactive Storytelling and Music Therapy for children aged 6 – 12 began on January 24 in Wolfville in an after-school program. The program is facilitated by Kathleen Purdy and Music Therapist Heather Price, with the support of volunteers from Acadia and the local high school, as well as three music therapy students who are completing a practicum with the Alexander Society. This program has been largely funded by a grant from the Eastern Kings Memorial Health Foundation in Wolfville. The Selfish Giant, a story by Oscar Wilde, is the focus of all the activities – songs, drama, movement, art work. Each day the children will hear a new episode of the story, participate in a drama, learn songs and movement and do an art project that is key to the story. For our first art project the children created flowers, fruit and birds for the giant’s garden.
A new pilot project has begun at a local elementary school: I (Kathleen) am collaborating with the music teacher to introduce a story element into two of her regular music classes, as a way of enhancing the involvement of some of the children who have challenges with staying focused and participating fully in the activities of the class. We chose the story of the Deportation of the Acadians from the shores of Nova Scotia in 1755/56 on which to focus all the musical activities. We began by creating a soundscape of what we all imagined it might be like in a (mostly) peaceful farming/fishing community at that time. We heard birds, a church bell, the blacksmiths, rain, thunder, crickets and other small animals. We learned a little about how the dykes were built and then did a rhythmical rock passing game as we sat in a circle. The children seemed to be quite engaged. Next week we will hear the approach of the British soldiers as they march through the village, rounding up all the men and boys.
A third project just beginning is another in-school program for high school students who are challenged in various ways. The story we have chosen on which to hang all the other activities is Iron John, a coming of age story that will take the participants on a journey of self-discovery. These two school programs are funded by a grant from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.
For more information about any of these programs, or if you would like to talk about how you might get a program going in your school or area, please contact me.