Archive for April, 2008

Another preschool bully resource

April 2, 2008

            This entry has now been added to the “Accredited Preschools” entry. 

If you know where to look, there are often resources available in your community to help with day care/preschool problems.  I indicated in an earlier entry that I only discovered the National Association for the Education of Young Children when I picked up a pamphlet at Boy’s preschool.  The same day I grabbed that pamphlet, in search of answers to his problem with bullies in preschool, I grabbed another that looked promising:  “Promoting Educational Achievement for Children Early (P.E.A.C.E.):  A Child Care Expulsion Prevention Program.”  They are affiliated with Riverwood Center, a county specific organization, and the United Way. 

           

            Boy has not been in danger of expulsion, but his bully has, and P.E.A.C.E. shares why my community, and any community really, has reason to be concerned about Yale’s studies regarding the alarming rates of preschool expulsions.  Beyond recognizing that “social and emotional competence of young children predicts their academic performance in 1st grade, over and above their cognitive skills and family background,” and that “young children who act in anti-social ways are provided with less instruction and less positive feedback [leads them] to like school less, learn less and attend less,” P.E.A.C.E. suggests a link between poverty, inadequate prenatal care, child abuse, and participation in childcare 40-60 hours a week as risk factors for children.

           Because of these risk factors, P.E.A.C.E. “provides consultation for parents and child care providers” for preschool aged children who exhibit “behavioral or emotional challenges that put them at risk of expulsion for childcare.”  In other words, even day care centers, including “anyone who directs or works in a day care setting” is eligible for services through this program, and services include training for providers and families.  P.E.A.C.E. is only available in my county, but as indicated above, the program is associated with the United Way, so if you are struggling with the kinds of problems we’ve faced as a family, you might consider contacting your local United Way to see what programs are available to you. 

          For me, I plan to contact the name on the pamphlet and share our story.  I will be sure to share what comes of that conversation here.    

Epilogue for South Bend Civic Theatre’s DOUBT

April 2, 2008

In February, I wrote with anticipation of seeing Doubt in South Bend Civic Theatre’s studio theater space with both an invitation and an acknowledgement of its preview and review in the South Bend Tribune, and I wrote about my theatrical viewing experience in a piece that reflected on both the performance and the challenge any theater experiences in putting on a play.  At the end of the latter piece, I indicated a future opportunity existed to see Doubt in competition at the Indiana Community Theatre League’s (ICTL) Festival hosted by South Bend Civic Theatre (SBCT). 

The weekend of March 14, six theaters competed in the 2008 ICTL State Festival.  As a participant in ICTL’s 2004 Festival in Terre Haute, I can say the competition presented challenges unlike a traditional performance.  For a show like Doubt, particularly, one of the greatest challenges was that the length of the show may not exceed 60 minutes.  That means that the cast of Doubt had just under a month to re-learn the play in its 60 minute cut form after a rehearsal period and production involving the full show.  Additionally, while Doubt may have appeared to have home field advantage, the staging of all productions was not in the studio space where Doubt was blocked and produced in the round – where the audience surrounds the actors on all sides.  Festival performances were instead housed in the larger, traditional main-stage auditorium, so Doubt had to undergo blocking changes in addition to its script changes.

Visiting companies, of course, faced greater challenges.  There was limited technical time to learn the light and sound boards in the technical booth, and set up of the production could not exceed ten minutes and tear down could not exceed five.  All set pieces and cast and crew members must fit in the confines of a box taped on the floor measuring 10 feet by 10 feet, which gets pretty small considering you’ve got to fit set, furniture, people, and musical instruments if you’re doing a musical in this box on the floor.  The time limit for set construction and strike and the necessity of crew members starting from the box on stage means technical crew members working in the technical booth have ten minutes to get to the booth and five minutes to return to the box after the performance, and if you’re in a new space, finding your way can prove challenging when your mind is on the performance.

ICTL festival, while challenging, also proves rewarding as professional adjudicators gave immediate feedback after each performance, commenting on everything from subtleties in performance, to director choices and technical details.  On the final day of ICTL Festival weekend was the traditional awards brunch – where the adjudicators present awards after having evaluated all of the productions.  This year, the Community Theatre Guild, Inc. of Valparaiso took home best production, recognition for its directors, and a performance certificate for its ensemble in Letters Home.  Valpo also received technical and design special recognition certificates.  Colburn Lambert received an Outstanding Performer award and Beth Metcalf received a Supporting Performer award for their work in Kokomo Civic Theatre’s second place See Rock City.  Elkhart Civic Theatre’s Smoke on the Mountain received an Outstanding Performer award for Karen Hoover in addition to Vocal Director and Costume Design awards, and Doubt’s Dana Vagg received a Supporting Performer award. 

At the brunch, it was also announced that in 2009, the Region III competition for the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) Festival (which occurs in odd numbered years and feeds into the AACT national competition, will be hosted by South Bend Civic Theatre. 

 This announcement means that any production between Schoolhouse Rock, opening April 3 at SBCT, through the remainder of the season or any production staged in the first couple months of SBCT’s 2009 season has the potential to compete at the national level.  Provided they take home top honors at the state and regional levels first.  But even if SBCT does not make it to national competition, the chance to host the regional competition marks SBCT’s explosive growth from where it was a decade ago.  Its growth could not have happened without the support of the community through funding and volunteerism.  South Bend Civic Theatre is truly a community theater, and the opportunities to participate exist for anyone who wants to be part of the show.                


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