Imaginations soared and the wonderment of the rainforest came alive as third-grade students performed The Great Kapok Tree in the Taylor Performing Arts Center.
As the stage lights lowered, the students took to the stage dressed in animal costumes including a blue morpho butterfly, a sloth, a toucan, a macaw, a capybara, and more. With music teacher Rachael Jungkeit on the keyboard, the students performed adapted lyrics to the song The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell. The lyrics detailed the variety of animals and plants inhabiting the rainforest.
Parents of the students, who are in the classes of teachers Emily Anderson and Alexis Harris 2001, were on hand to watch the performance, as were some special guests – students in Erin Correa’s second-grade class. Following the musical prelude, the stage transitioned into a mock news room.
Two student narrators set the scene by speaking about the rainforest, the animals that live there, and the need for protection against a man who had set out to chop down the great kapok tree. As the man fell asleep, one-by-one each student in their costume talked about the importance of the tree and protecting nature. In the end, the man decided to not chop down the tree.
A musical performance concluded the production with adapted lyrics to the song How Far I’ll Go from the film Moana. In a talk-back session with the students, the audience asked questions about how long it took to rehearse, study lines, and learn the choreography. The third-graders also shared the life skills they learned throughout the process, which included teamwork, patience, bravery, and participation.
“We would not be able to do this without the support of our community including teachers and parents,” commented theatre teacher Lisa Daly “The process is where the magic happens and the performance is the cherry on top.”
Miss Anderson noted that the performance was the culmination of cross-curricular efforts that began in the classroom.
“I am so impressed with the creativity of the students,” commented Miss Anderson. “They took their roles very seriously and were having fun all the way through. All the hard work paid off.”
Following the performance, students and their parents walked to the courtyard to display tables showcasing art pieces and projects depicting each of the animals the students chose for the performance. In art class with Lower School art teacher Sue Bennet 1973, students created canvas art chock-full of animal imagery while creating animal models out of recycled materials in MakerSpace classes with science teacher Claire Rich.