Academic journal article Human Ecology

Teaching Diversity through Drama and Imagination: The Cornell Early Childhood Center Has Established a Pilot Program to Foster Appreciation for Diversity in the Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Teaching Diversity through Drama and Imagination: The Cornell Early Childhood Center Has Established a Pilot Program to Foster Appreciation for Diversity in the Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum

Article excerpt

TO HELP PRESCHOOLERS develop an awareness of different points of view and better understand diversity, the Cornell Early Childhood Center, a laboratory preschool at the College of Human Ecology, matched a $5,000 Artist in the School Community grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts this past academic year. The funding brought a teaching artist into four pre-kindergarten classrooms--two at Cornell's lab school and two at Ithaca elementary schools.

"The artistic goal of this project is to develop the child's awareness and appreciation of diversity through the use of literature, creative dramatics, and the imagination," says Elizabeth Stilwell, the Jack and Diane Baillet Meakum Director of the Early Childhood Center. "Through drama, children can explore the issue of diversity by listening to selected books, discussing the thoughts and feelings a book evokes, and dramatically portraying the characters to experience different perspectives."

Jane Sprague, a teaching artist with a specialty in dramatics from the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, visited each classroom 10 times over a six- to eight-week period to work with the children. …

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