Starting at Nursery 3, all students have access to music and fine arts programming, which further enforces the experiential learning theories espoused by Laboratory Schools founder John Dewey.
“Much like Dewey’s adage of ‘learn by doing’, we learn by singing,” said Larena Code, music teacher for the first and second graders. “Music helps our young learners understand themselves and the world around them.”
Our youngest learners at Earl Shapiro Hall have monthly Community Sing performances, which aim to support its curriculum of identity formation, identifying childrens’ ideas and voices, and respect and value of other people, races, and cultures. In September, students sang songs in Spanish, Hebrew, Ewe, in addition to English.
“Theater at Lab is a very thorough experience,” said senior Sienna Yamini. “I have learned other parts of theater like crew, acting, directing, and backstage, which influences the way you represent yourself onstage.”
While a challenging approach to theater, Mrs. A has quite a few admirers, as she gears up for retirement after fifty-three years of teaching at Lab.
Now the founder, executive producer, and creative director of Numeric Pictures, he credits the teaching styles of Mrs. A for his success. Almost forty years later, Mrs. A’s style of teaching hasn’t shifted one bit. Steck said that the performing arts department has always focused on every aspect of theater—not just performing—which gave him the foundation for his future career.
“It was a great experience to be in the theater because Mrs. A empowered us to make decisions,” said Steck. “The big skills that I took away were problem-solving and listening, and really making best efforts to work together and realize a shared vision.”
Steck and Ambrosini have a few things in common—they are both terrified of performing and are perfectionists. Which can come in handy when contending for an Emmy Award as a film producer.
“Mrs. A was one of the first teachers, maybe one of the first adults, to say you can do better,” added Steck. “I think creative problem-solving starts early. If people foster that, and certainly Mrs. A did, you get good at it. Those seeds were planted for me with Mrs. A and the Lab theater program.”