You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ’til It’s Gone

Covid (and the accompanying health and safety protocols) created the conditions for components of our school day to be compromised ~ but none so significantly as The Arts. The last time our students came together to see a live performance was Friday, March 13, 2020, as a part of the 100 Schools Grand Theatre initiative and it is only recently that we have started to hear the sound of wind instruments drift from the music portable. Today must have been a grade 4 day, as it was the sound of recorders filling the air with that familiar sound.

To give credit where it is due, our team of educators found unique ways to incorporate the Arts through the increased use of percussion instruments, string options (ukuleles) and teaching our students sign language as an alternative to singing. But there is nothing that compares to the sound of children harmonizing or bringing students together to perform for a live audience.

This week, as we were meeting potential new team members for both an instrumental music and grade 7 position, there were a number of candidates who focused on the Arts for their artefact. Our most recent applicant for a grade 7 position, shared a “Minecraft” inspired online Art Gallery, where she presented and gave life to passion projects that her students created. There were beautiful works of art, cooking websites and even a crocketed cactus, which became their classroom pet. We have had such rich conversations with candidates about the performances they have supported in their current schools over the years and their vision of what the music program could look like if they were selected.

As we look towards the upcoming 2022-2023 school year there is this incredible excitement about the possibility of not only celebrating but bringing the Arts to the forefront of all that we do. The research continues to support the important role that the Arts play in building community, supporting regulation, and maintaining social and emotional well-being for both staff and students.  Staff are already looking towards booking live theatre for their classes. Just today, I had a passionate conversation with an educator about the role that dance plays in not only supporting curriculum expectations but in providing an authentic platform for applying those expectations. Teaching students the necessary French vocabulary to support a dance routine is magical to watch and listen to. Talk about acknowledging and celebrating all learning styles!!

We have reached out the company that installed our complicated and yet high-quality sound and light system, as a number of staff are excited about receiving training. I just know that a school show is somewhere in our near future, and I am bubbling with anticipation. There is something magical about watching and listening to a group of educators who are thirsty for the opportunity to collaborate on such a project. I know that our caregiver community will be the first to step up and say, “How can we help?”

We have learned so much in the past 2 years as we have navigated life in a school (or online) during a global pandemic. Some of the those lessons we will take forward and incorporate into this new post- pandemic world. Others we will gladly toss aside and refer to only in our old age, when we reminisce about the 2020/2021/2022 pandemic years.
When I think about how the Arts were compromised in schools, my mind will drift to the lyric, “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t what you got ‘til it’s gone.”

If I have learned anything along this journey, it is that schools are meant to be filled with music, dancing, singing, performing, and embracing all forms of the Arts.

What are you most looking forward to as we ease into a post-pandemic world?

Come write with me….