Teachers' Responses -- 2001
Teachers' responses to the project were overwhelmingly positive. "I think the whole process was valuable, from start to finish," said Mrs. Morely. "The music selections were so worthwhile," said Mrs. Rogers. "These children don't often listen to music, and they respond to it in so many positive ways."
"The experience my class and I had with Barbara Pearson ("the Dance Lady" as my
students affectionately called her) was unique, educational and downright fun,"
said Dan Mills. "In line with important classroom goals, my class of physically
disabled students had practice in following directions, listening for cues,
sequencing actions, and performing individual movements that contributed to a group
dance production. (contd.)
This opportunity also helped build self-confidence, self-esteem and promote social interaction among themselves and other peers.
"The progress of the kids was astounding: from the initial group circle, trying individual ways to gesture and say "hello" and "goodbye", through the beginning, hesitant movements as a group, to the final grand performance on stage in front of an audience of family, friends and strangers. It is an experience the children will remember for a long while, and hopefully can be expanded in the future."
To prepare for the festival performance, a group of regular education music students came to the dress rehearsal as a trial audience. The interaction between the regular ed students and the disabled performers sparked an idea for the future - that of creating a performance involving the disabled and non-disabled together. This would lead toward a greater awareness of students with disabilities and of the value of creating exciting activities for inclusion.