Late this fall, we stopped by Kimberley Jr Public School to visit a group of students who take the arts very seriously. These 25 grade 6 students take it so seriously that they are part of a special club, the Prologue Club.
Several times a year, the Prologue Club convenes over their lunch period or after school to make decisions that will impact the entire student body. Will Dufflebag Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty or TorQ Percussion’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink be the Prologue performance at their school? They carefully deliberate which performances they are going to bring to their school. The students weigh the options, being mindful of all aspects of booking the performance. Is it age appropriate for the grade 1 students? How much does the production cost? Will our peers find it entertaining? How does this connect with what we are learning? After all, there is much to consider when you are making decisions for the whole school.
Kimberley PS ‘s Prologue Club was formed over 15 years ago under the guidance of teacher Kate Cullen. Kate had attended one of Prologue’s annual showcases and was greatly moved by her daughter’s reaction to the performances. She decided to engage her students not only in the joy and transformative power of the arts but also in the decision making process.
“Created to encourage and increase students’ involvement in the artistic life or their school and support leadership development, it has been so wonderful to watch the progress of our Prologue Club over the years”, said Kate about the establishment and ongoing activities of the Club.
Kate took the administrative task of booking a performance and turned it into an opportunity for students to develop agency over part of their education. Not only are the students part of the process, but they are learning valuable event planning skills along the way, including budgeting, fundraising and scheduling. But the learning goes far beyond the dates and numbers and even the curriculum connections of any given performance. By participating in the Prologue Club, students are learning to be thoughtful, reflective and inclusive of their peers.
Of course, it’s not all hard work. At the end of the process, the Club celebrates a job well done by enjoying an intimate performance with a just a couple hundred of their closest friends.