Marie-France Jeaurond – Manor Park Public School – Elementary Performance Teaching Award
For the last four years, Marie-France has been putting on large scale musical productions for Manor Park community. This year’s production of the Lion King was an outstanding production, engaging close to 80 students from Grades 4-6. Students were given an opportunity to perform in the musical, as well as assist on the technical side of the production such as sound mixing, painting sets and backstage prop assistance. Manor Park Public School has a significant English as a Second Language (ESL) population who were asked to sing both in English and Swahili! This was an extremely positive experience for all students involved. Those students with behavioural challenges had the opportunity to learn valuable leadership and time management skills through involvement in the musical.
Students learned how to think and react quickly to problems that arise when putting on a production. Building props that stand up to performance tests and technical difficulties during the show were no match for these students. Sadly, during the production, props went missing, costume masks and props were vandalized. But, these issues were used as teachable moments. Artistic resilience was built and issues were addressed calmly with the cast and crew.
Energy was spent rebuilding props and making sure musical items were put away safely, not through anger or revenge. Students learned a valuable lesson that in life: we can be a victim or we can rebuild. It was also an opportunity for students in the English and French Immersion program to work together on a common goal, communicating the importance of working as a larger school community. Through Marie-France’s mentorship and the assistance of other teachers she encourage to assist this production, students were motivated to come to school and be involved in the musical and find a sense of achievement. This musical fueled their reason to be at school, and for some it was a distraction from some difficult home situations. Students were confident, happy and empowered through these mentorships.