London’s theatre scene has been prolific for centuries and, today, students with an interest in the performing arts on educational trips to the city will be astounded at the range of performances on offer. Everything is here – from Shakespeare, to musicals through to cutting edge modern productions. It is absolutely true to say that there is something for everyone.The West EndThe area around Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square has long been associated with the theatre and it is here many of the greatest musicals made their debut. (This will usually be the first stop on any educational trips to the city focused on the Arts.) Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Haymarket in October 1986 and is now in its 28th year. Every night the Opera House, Paris is recreated on stage in London, and every night audiences are astounded by the spectacle.Another great musical that has been part of London’s theatre scene for many years is Les Misérables. Unlike Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, as it is affectionately known, has been performed at three different theatres in London. It was first performed at The Barbican, in London’s City district, in 1985. Despite mixed reviews, the audiences loved it and it was transferred to the Palace Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, where it played for 18 years before being transferred to the nearby Queens Theatre. It has been breaking records ever since its opening and with the release of the film adaptation in 2012 now has an even bigger fan base. Although Les Mis is performed all over the world, the Queens Theatre is now the only place where the original production is performed. Students who in London on educational trips will truly be dazzled by the bright lights of this area, as theatre after theatre offers up the opportunity to see some truly amazing shows.Shakespeare’s TheatresThe ultimate theatre in which to see Shakespeare’s plays performed is The Globe on London’s South Bank. It is a recreation of the original Globe, which was sited nearby. Performances only take place in The Globe from around March to October, as it is open to the skies and the vagaries of the British weather. It will look very familiar to anyone who has seen the film Shakespeare in Love and it is a theatre experience that will take students back to the time of Shakespeare. Tours are available all year and students on educational trips should definitely put it on the itinerary. Shakespeare’s plays can, of course, be seen at many theatres all over London, and among them are the Barbican and the Old Vic. For those interested in history, the remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre were recently found in the East End of London; this is the theatre that is thought to have been where Romeo and Juliet was first performed.New TheatreThe National Theatre is also on London’s South Bank and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Ever since its conception, it has provided a platform for playwrights old and new – including the classics such as Shakespeare. However, it is constantly introducing new talent to the public and recent productions have included Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse and Simon Stephen’s adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Many of the world’s greatest actors have performed on the stages of the three theatres that make up the National Theatre and it is a wonderful place to visit.Any students with an interest in the performing arts are sure to have a memorable time in London.
Art in a Montessori school classroom is used in a variety of different ways. At the most basic level, art will teach the child to use a pencil and draw lines. But many of the exercises placed on the practical life shelves are artistic in nature; which often include cutting, weaving, sewing, and stencils.Art is one of the many ways children express themselves. Art is a way for children to communicate their feelings and emotions. In a Montessori environment, they provide open-ended art activities that help children explore and use their creativity.Art, along with all areas of the classroom, gives children a solid foundation for future growth. Through art, they are exploring, creating, expressing, and developing self. Montessori style of learning provides a rich art area in the classroom, giving children a chance to choose their medium: paints, pastels, clay, pencils, and/or crayons.When it comes to art, it is the process not the outcome that is important to the child. A child interacts with the world differently than adults, children work to develop self rather than develop a product of some sort of monetary gain. Their focus is to have fun and grow. Once a child creates something, they do not feel the need to keep the product. It is the process that gives them satisfaction and inner joy.Many teachers receive artistic “gifts” from their students all the time. But for the students it’s more about moving on to the next art expression than creating something specific for a certain person. That’s why art from a child is always so unique and sometimes very strange.Montessori training programs emphasize the process of creating art versus the product. This means that children should be encouraged to explore and experiment with a variety of art mediums without being made to feel that they should complete a specific project that looks a certain way.One important difference in how the art shelf is presented in a Montessori classroom as opposed to a traditional preschool classroom is that all children have access to it at all times and they may freely choose which skills to practice at any given time. In a more traditional setting, art materials may be out only at certain times and/or their use may be more directed by the adults than by the children themselves.Montessori used the term “cosmic education” to indicate both the universal scope of lessons to be presented, and the idea that education in the second plane should help the child realize the human role in the interdependent functioning of the universe. Classroom materials and lessons include work in the arts. Through Montessori a child is able to express themselves to the fullest.”The human hand, so delicate and so complicated, not only allows the mind to reveal itself but it enables the whole being to enter into special relationships with its environment… man ‘takes possession of his environment with his hands.’ His hands, under the guidance of his intellect transform this environment and thus enable him to fulfill his mission in the world.” — Maria Montessori