By Chrissy Shackelford, Education & Outreach Associate
I am a princess in a tiny village that is about to revolt against the monarch due to poverty and unbearable working conditions. Until one day, I drink out of an enchanted cup and am able to jump inside famous paintings and learn from their cultures…
Or at least that’s what I was in second grade, when I wrote my first play, fittingly titled, The Magic Cup. Nothing ever came of that play. I once forced my brother to act it out with me but immediately felt too embarrassed, grabbed the script out of his hands, and ran into my room to talk to my stuffed animals.
Needless to say, I was a very emotional child, who dreamed of going to law school to “help people” and being on TV to “play pretend”. Children dream big, they want to create. Their brains are constantly turning and they want to use them. I wish that when I was a child those things were nurtured in me. Instead, they were pushed aside in the pursuit of higher grades. I wish that I had been confident in myself instead of constantly worrying if I was doing it “right”. I wish the arts (dance, specifically) were essential to my day instead of “extracurricular”. I wish I had gone on more field trips and been exposed to different places and people instead of spending 35 hours a week in the same building. I wish I had been taught through seeing, moving, feeling, and doing, instead of sitting and listening. I wish I had all of those things but I also wish that children have these things now. That’s why I do what I do and work where I work.
Through the Paramount Story Wranglers students are told that their ideas not only matter but are good and important enough to share with the world, exponentially increasing their confidence. Through our Summer Camp Programs, students spend their days dancing, singing, acting, and creating, weaving the arts into their everyday routine. Through our Student Matinee Series, thousands of students experience the magic of seeing something larger than life right in front of their eyes as well as being exposed to the historic architecture of an Austin landmark. Through our STEM Through the Arts program, students learn science and math through theatre-based strategies engaging their minds, bodies, and imaginations with experiential lessons. While some may see these programs and arts education in general, as additional to a child’s development and learning, I see these programs and principles as essential to a child’s development as a human. Perhaps if these things were implemented in my development, The Magic Cup would be on Broadway, winning a Pulitzer Prize for Drama as we speak.