To the Editor:
For 17 years, it has been our joy and privilege to work with almost 2,000 fourth graders in the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools system.
We are deeply disappointed that the Vineyard schools (except for the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School) have decided not to participate in our Fourth Grade Theater Project.
We believe that arts in education are extremely important. In fact, we believe that creativity for children is paramount to their education. During our project, we teach vital skills in collaboration and creative problem solving and have strived to integrate these concepts directly into the fourth grade curriculum. In our original plays, we have blended history, science, geography, social studies, mathematics, and English language arts with the inspired efforts and wild imaginations of nine- and 10-year olds.
Our program reaches every child and at different levels. They sample the many different areas of live theater production, from playwriting to presentation. The most unique aspect of our educational model is that the Playhouse becomes a classroom for the students. While at the theater, the children work closely with many different instructors on a process that is equally, or more important, than the show itself.
In addition to Playhouse staff members and local artists, the Project has employed college interns from Bennington, Endicott, and other schools and included elder members of our community in a multi-generational outreach effort.
On a more positive note, we will now be able to begin the first phase of our planned and much needed renovations to the theater building earlier than anticipated, due to the unexpected cancellation of the Fourth Grade Theater Project. We look forward to continuing to serve the youth of our Island and are grateful to all those who have supported The Vineyard Playhouse.
MJ Bruder Munafo
Executive and Artistic Director
The Vineyard Playhouse