Written by DAREarts teacher Valerie Kostyniuk.
During the end of day closing circle, students often share how special DAREarts makes them feel. This term’s group of grade fives is no different, except that they mostly share this thought in very soft voices and only after much encouragement. Words don’t bubble out of this group as they have out of other groups.
Now, I whole-heartedly relate to these quiet and introverted kids, but I don’t want them to end up wishing that they’d expressed more than they had at DAREarts, especially as our time together is so short, and the DAREarts program is based on tenants of respect and acknowledgement that can’t always be communicated silently.
At the end of every single day, DAREarts students welcome our guest artist into the closing circle and thank them for what he or she has shared with us. This thank you necessitates eye contact, clear speech, and a warm hand-shake. This is how we make the artists feel as special as DAREarts makes us feel. It’s an act of sharing, and we need to have the courage to reach out to make them feel special and appreciated. Being able to make someone feel special is a great privilege and a great power to harness.
The grade five delegates took the dare to use their voices and body language warmly to give appreciation and warmth to others. Yesterday, the group thank you’s to both Lata and Sam of Sampradaya Dance Academy and to Lisa Creelman and her amazing staff at Centre of Gravity Circus Training School was big, bold and present.
We started hearing voices in other powerful and supportive ways, too. At Centre of Gravity Circus Training School, students spontaneously began clapping and shouting “You can do it! You can do it!” to support delegates who were pushing themselves to try things (Cartwheels! Hand-stands! Rope-climbing! Trapeze!).
The old adage says that silence is golden, but I like hearing these students speak.