MUSIC (All Grades)
Friends of Third fully funds a music program and instruction at Third Street Elementary. All students in all grades participate in this general music program (beyond the 4th/5th-grade orchestra program provided by LAUSD). Our support of a general music program stems from the following ideas:
- Music encourages the pursuit of mastery in school children, who often are allowed to get by with a minimum of understanding. In music class, however, barely adequate is never good enough. Students learn to practice things until they own them. When they realize they can transfer that approach to the rest of their subjects, there’s no stopping them.
- Music increases synaptic activity. All studies show that the physiological reaction to music in the brain is profound. If one of our goals is to stimulate students to make their own connections on the way to developing metacognition, then all that extra synaptic activity cannot be a bad thing.
- Music presents a chance to reach hard-to-reach kids. Today, fitting in is complicated -- with issues of racial and cultural identity, along with socio-economic status, language and special needs in the mix. Music gives teachers a chance to get above all that and connect with children on their turf, and in the process transmit ideas about working in groups, leadership, patience, cooperation and pride. With the possible exception of sports, nothing we do with kids in school does all this quite as well. Apart from all that, music is just so much fun!
THEATER ARTS (Grades 3 to 5)
LAUSD provides a 10-week drama program for students in Kindergarten through 2nd Grade, and Friends of Third has funded this program area so that students in 3rd through 5th Grades continue their skills in the theater and performing arts (including assistance for the annual 4th Grade musical).
Confidence and creativity, cooperation and communication – all of these are important qualities for children and young adults. And theater arts education is one of the best ways to develop these critical personal skills. John Pratt, a former Third Street School teacher and an arts specialist, will work with upper grade students this year. He will be leading them through a program that stresses using the body, the voice, and the imagination effectively. The students will work in pantomime, in improvisation, and in story creation with material that integrates perfectly into the rest of the curriculum. Although the focus of the program is not performance, there will be culminating activities so that parents can see the great work that their children are doing. And for those students with a flair for performance, Mr. Pratt will be working with students and teachers to present plays and other dramatic performances as well.
Via the Kindergarten Support Fund, Friends of Third provides a 12-week visual arts program for Kindergartners. This program is taught by a vibrant instructor who brings in various media, including recycled/upcycled goods for use in creative projects. Students learn a variety of art techniques and terms while gaining confidence in the diversity of artistic expression in each class.