DAREarts Blog

Discipline, Action, Responsibility, Excellence

Building a team and taking the lead: DAREarts Vancouver, Day One

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Post written by DAREarts Lead Teacher & Director of Urban Programs, Geneviève Anthony.

DAREarts Vancouver kicked off with a palpable sense of excitement and anxiety as the students from Grandview, Strathcona and Queen Alexandra loaded into the van so generously donated by the Strathcona Community Centre.

What schools will the other kids be from? Have they been to DAREarts before?
Nervous giggles and downward darting eyes danced about.
Once inside the Vancouver Opera’s spacious rehearsal hall the children ate their snack and awkwardly looked at one another. We encouraged them to get to know everyone’s names. Most shyly muttered their names and giggled with the person beside them.

We waited patiently. We have done this before. We know that we must be ready to support the one child who steps as far out of his/her comfort zone.
AND there it was!
One girl stood up and began to walk around the circle introducing herself.
We applauded her bravery and her ability to take a risk “because how would you all get to know each other’s names if you remained seated?” They laughed at themselves and were on their feet, extending their hands to each other.

“Hi, my name is________. Nice to meet you___________. My name is_________”
Photo courtesy Kjersten Saude.
By lunch time the class of 27 students was very aware that they were no longer at their schools and that THEY drove the tempo and learning of the class. When we asked for a leader to monitor the time or to share group information, hands were stretching upwards within an instant.
The idea that they were a team that collectively decided their own success was further understood when they learned that the brilliance of Mozart’s music lives on today because of the dedication and commitment of his “team” and community. They were challenged to see that Mozart’s mastery was not present in all aspects of his life, and that individuals make choices everyday to strive to be the best possible version of themselves.
In our closing circle and towards the end of the day, many confirmed when their next DAREarts day was. They happily used the hand signals to get themselves in a line, begin to move towards the bus, thank the bus driver, remind the team about their seatbelts, to take action!
Day one confirmed that the children of Vancouver, like every other Canadian community I have taught in, will reach higher and further than we often expect. 


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