It’s that time of year when many activities are wrapping up for the summer. And for some of those activities, that means presentations and performances. Yesterday, we were treated to more than one.
Right at 10:00, first thing of the day at the Nook, was our Elections class’s press conference. We’ve had a lot of fun this session. The kids were a little unsure in the beginning; they didn’t really understand what it meant to develop a campaign platform. But there’s always that lightbulb moment that’s so rewarding, and when it happened, they took off. Now they’re asking for more time to develop their campaigns even further. Yesterday, the three candidates delivered speeches. They had spent time in their teams brainstorming and then the speech writers brought the ideas together to present in a coherent form; and today, it was the candidates’ turn to deliver them.
We had a pretty good turnout amongst Nook members, and the candidates did a good job giving their speeches. What was even better was the second part, where the audience got to ask questions. It’s not easy, especially for kids, to answer questions on the fly like that—especially about topics such as international defence, environmental programs, and balanced budgets. I wondered if the kids would be nervous and not know what to say, but I should have known better. All three took the questions in stride, answered confidently, and even provided us with comic relief at various points.
I was proud of the kids for staying in character and answering the questions true to their campaign platforms. Natascha did especially well at tying each question to multiple points in her platform, linking environmental issues with social issues and economic issues. Jeanne answered every question seriously and calmly, with complete confidence in her position, and managed to bring in some smaller issues from their campaign platform that I wasn’t sure would come to light at all during the campaign. Noah, the youngest candidate by a full five years, kept pace with his fellow candidates and even added humour to the situation. When asked how he would fund the new programs he was proposing and other candidates beat around the bush, Noah shrugged his shoulders and said, “Yeah, I’ll raise taxes.” Now how’s that for an honest politician? When asked what he would do to minimize war and conflict, he replied that we needed to get to the root of the problem and address anger management. I think he’s on to something.
The audience members asked great questions, and their interest made the kids even more excited about what they’re doing. After the press conference, Brigitte came up to get a selfie with a candidate, which I thought was so sweet. The kids were definitely on a performance high after that!
For the rest of our day at the Nook, the kids could choose from Lego Club, Herb Fairies, French, and Choir. The choir presentation is coming up, too. The kids are singing songs from around the world. They’ve been practising melody and harmony, some have solos, and Jordan will even accompany them on the piano! The choir presentation is something I really look forward to every session.
Two more of my favourite pictures from the day: getting some plants from Mr. Quinn to put in our gardens and the boys engrossed in their new favourite pastime, what I can only call the paper game. It has seemingly elaborate and yet quite logical rules, and kids from three years old to thirteen love it.
After a violin lesson, it was soon time to take the theatre kids to their last dress rehearsal before the show. And we ended our evening with a stop motion animation short, a voice solo, and a fantastic rendition of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”—abridged and rewritten by the actors themselves! I was so proud of all the kids, including Leila who played an adorable (yet silent) sheep. Despite nearly falling asleep back stage, she managed to obey her stage cues and remain in character, forgetting only to baa. So much better than what I imagined might happen, should she get deliriously tired. Ha!
I told Zahra how impressed I was with this particular performance. We had practised her lines many times, and while she knew them, her delivery lacked something. But last night, she fell into character, delivered her lines with accuracy and charm and expression. As did all the kids. This wasn’t Zahra’s first acting experience. In fact, a few years ago, she was part of a much bigger production—and yet, I thought this smaller production was more skillfully done and that the actors showed real skill and talent. I’m so happy it all came together in the end. The thrill on Zahra’s face at the end of the show made all those rehearsals and missed dinners and carpooling worth it.