Here it is – half way through the summer, and I am just now finding the time to consolidate my thoughts on the very full but rewarding winter and spring just passed. Working in my garden has given me time to ponder all that has transpired and a moment or two to think about the future. So, here is is brief view of the past 6 months of the Alexander Society’s activities.
Beginning in the new year we ran two concurrent programs – one, Creative Arts for Youth, embraced older teens and young adults. Using the story of the voyages of Odysseus on his return from the Trojan wars, we engaged the participants in many exciting adventures. At the end of the ten weeks, parents and friends were invited to share Odysseus’ final adventure as he regained his homeland. As with most of our programs we were very fortunate to attract some very dedicated volunteers to provide one-on-one support for the individual participants. This and the following program was facilitated by me, Kathleen Purdy and Music Therapist Heather Price. Two music therapy students from Acadia helped us out and used these programs as part of their practicum.
Over the same time period, we facilitated an in-school program sponsored by the N.S. Department of Education and our local school board. This eight week “Creative Arts in the Schools” program was documented on video by a local high school student so that other schools could benefit from this approach to teaching. As well as working with the children we spent time with teachers and educational assistants to help them understand the approach and strategies that they can put into practice with individual students or groups.
I was invited to give several workshops. One was for Early Childhood Educators, coordinated by the Nova Scotia Community College. Another was a full-day in-service for teachers and assistants at a French school in Cape Breton. I was one of the many chosen to make a presentation at the 2nd Annual Emergent Learning conference in Halifax. (We were in good company as the Headline speaker was Deepak Chopra.) My topic was “Learning through the Arts”. Participants were engaged in a lively and interactive presentation about incorporating the arts into school programs in an inclusive setting.
A nine-week (once a week) Educational Support program was carried out at the South Shore Waldorf school. In this program individual children are guided through exercises that help build the capacities they need to further their academic work.
We welcomed two new Board members at our Spring AGM : Sarah MacDonald Hiltz and Kathy Ferrier, who join present Board members Susan Haley, Michelle Morgan-Coole and Tracey Tomlik-Porter.
As in the past several years, we facilitated four Jam Dances, inclusive movement and music activities for the whole community. These are organized by the Flower Cart, and facilitated by me and Kimberly Smith. We never know who is going to show up or how it is going to turn out, but it is always a great social event and lots of fun for people of all abilities.
Plans are taking shape for the fall and another chapter of the Workbook should appear by the end of summer.
Wishing you all a fruitful summer… Kathleen Purdy, Executive Director, Alexander Society for Special Needs.