From outside the Classroom: EL PUENTE!
This week was spring break for NYC public schools, so we took the opportunity to work with some kids outside of the school system. We partnered with El Puente, a Brooklyn-based “community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice”. We spent the week learning about environmental issues and developing short plays together. We started with imagining a series of tableaux, then began to add a few lines to each scene. We worked on character development, thinking about what each person wants and what challenges they must face to achieve those goals.
Some students chose to write about the drought in California and the unequal share of resources in desperate times. Others took on the challenging topic of climate refugees in Syria – those farmers who migrated to urban settings after drought caused a major loss of crops. We also had pieces about the devastation of natural disasters and the pressures of living in a rapidly warming planet, particularly as a comparison of the effects on higher and lower income communities.
All of the plays were powerful, thoughtful, and tackled complicated, emotional topics in artful and creative ways. It was a rewarding experience for all involved and we can’t wait to do staged readings of these pieces!
*We’re calling this new leg of the program the “BGT Satellite”, and it’s geared specifically toward offering short workshops of BGT to children outside of the school system. This portion of the BGT program has been generously funded by the Mental Insight Foundation.