The Alexander Society runs unique and exciting multi-sensory arts-based programs for children and youth of all ages and abilities. Participants engage in storytelling, drama, movement/dance, music, painting, drawing and crafts.
These Creative Arts programs provide an opportunity for people who are challenged to be with each other, and to build friendships within the community which may last a lifetime. Peers, friends, and family members are invited to participate, creating an open, inclusive atmosphere which reverberates into the wider community. The Arts provide an ideal opportunity for everyone to work and develop at their own pace, while enhancing cognitive, physical, educational, social and emotional development.
Weekly programs are focused around one story, usually a legend, myth or fairy tale, which is developed over the course of eight to ten weeks. Through imaginative participation in the story, the students learn songs, play instruments, take on roles, and move in many different ways. In the process, they build self-confidence, enhance sensory-integration and develop and refine skills such as listening, sequencing, vocabulary, memory, fine and gross motor control, attention span and social skills. These times together allow the children to be totally accepted in a non-competitive, non-judgemental setting.
Some participants may need one-on-one support to fully engage in the activities.
Through our volunteer program, participants are given the individual support they need to strive toward their potential. The volunteers also benefit by learning about and feeling more comfortable with people who are different from themselves, and taking what they learn into their workplace and lives. Ultimately, everyone gains and the society at large is richer.
The programs are usually facilitated by two people – one to lead the story and drama components and one to lead the music activities.
Kathleen Purdy, co-founder of the Alexander Society and facilitator of Creative Arts programs is available to present Leadership Training workshops to people who are interested in learning how to facilitate these programs.
Following is an overview of the training:
Two-day workshop: (It is important to separate Sessions 1 and 2 to give participants the time to prepare for Session 2. Preferably the two sessions would be a week apart. However, it could work over a Saturday and Sunday.)
Overview: Using one of the stories that we developed over the past 14 years, workshop participants will learn how to integrate music, movement, drama, visual arts and crafts to create a full multi-sensory experience.
Introduction to how the programs work.
Demonstrate several episodes of the chosen story. Engage the participants in making some of the props to be used in the drama.
Find themes in the story; create movement, music and other art activities around the themes.
Break into groups; each will plan and present an episode of the story.
In preparation for Session 2, designate groups of 2 – 4 people; each group will choose a story to work with. They may choose from stories already in the Creative Arts repertoire, or choose a story of their liking. This entails the groups getting together between sessions to work on their presentation.
Each group will present several episodes of their story. They will be discussed, suggestions offered, new ideas played with. At the end of the day, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion.
Following the workshop, Kathleen is willing to help any of the participants with the initial organization of a community or school program, help facilitate the first one or two sessions and then be on call as an adviser. She is also able to provide some props from the Alexander Society collection, where needed, and to help find volunteers.