© Jonathan Riley
Children from the Barton Consolidated School have prepared a dramatic performance for the opening of an art exhibit in Yarmouth about the plight of child soldiers around the world.
Children's poetry at bottom of this article
Children from Barton Consolidated School are taking their show on the road for a performance at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Yarmouth.
Students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 have been working with a facilitator since before Christmas on the performance, which will be part of the opening of an exhibit in Yarmouth about the lives of child soldiers around the world.
“The kids have worked very hard and are very excited,” says Barton teacher Sarah Price. “We have parents coming with us on the bus. Everyone is excited.”
The exhibit is called Plight of the Child Soldier – Innocence Lost and features photographs from the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative at Dalhousie University. The exhibit also includes poetry by the local schoolchildren based on their responses to the images.
The images show moments from the lives of young people around the world caught up in conflict and forced to become soldiers.
“It’s a difficult subject,” says Price. “Some of the children were shocked when they saw the images and heard the stories. You could see it in their eyes.”
Price, who teaches the children Language Arts and Social Studies, says they have also talked about the subject in class.
“We’ve looked on the map to see where these countries are, we’ve talked about why it happens there and why it doesn’t happen in Canada.
“It’s led to them getting so much knowledge about the world.”
Linda Marie Croakley, a theatre arts educator, introduced the Barton schoolchildren to the subject through the images and stories.
She made nine visits to the school to work with the children.
She helped them to respond to the images through poems, monologues, spoken word pieces and pantomime.
Using the children’s responses, Croakley then created a dramatic collaborative performance piece which includes singing and storytelling in round.
Children from the Central School in Yarmouth have also been working on the project and will be part of the performance.
The opening of the exhibit is tomorrow night, Thursday, Jan. 16 at the AGNS Western Branch, 341 Main Street in Yarmouth.
A reception, where the children will be on hand to talk about their poetry, starts at 6 p.m., the children’s performance goes at 6:30 p.m.
Poetry by the children of Barton Consolidated School
I’m the thing that haunts your dreams… I’m the thing who killed hundreds… I’m the thing who burned down your villiage… who am I?
Terse Verse poems:
Children forced to do chores
Hiking in the jungle
Identity is lost
Love is scarce
Danger is all around them.