Delrey – Bridget’s piece
MEAC at the Delrey School
I have been so fortunate to be a part of MEAC for the past 17 years as a special educator at Delrey School. I consider myself part of MEAC because Joanne values my input when choosing plays for my class. This allows me to incorporate the subject of the play into my lesson planning so that my students are better prepared for the theatre experience when MEAC visits. After all, it is my students who are the most important participants in MEAC. During MEAC performances they are active participants in theatre, which may be the only chance for many of them to experience the beauty of dance and drama.
Joanne and the members of her troupe truly bring each student into the play and it is my privilege to witness and be a part of the interaction. I take joy in watching my students react to a new touch, dance, or emotion. It is a time of calm for them, yet they are totally engaged in the play and with the performers. One of my students is in great distress during much of the school day. During MEAC performances, however, he is peaceful, content and so responsive to touching which he usually avoids. I find MEAC to be such an important part of his educational program that he now joins MEAC when they perform for other classes in our school. For another of my students the highlight of MEAC is dancing with Joanne near the end of each play. His disability requires a great deal of adult assistance to so. A few years ago I had no problem walking with him so that he could have his dance. Now is he is taller than me and his movements interfere with much of what he wants to do. For those two minutes at the end of each play, though, he is able to control his body enough to have his dance with Joanne. His joy in that moment is inspiring to me.
I think that may be the heart of MEAC, how Joanne and her fellow performers make each of my students feel as though they are the most important participant in the performance. No moment is rushed, each student’s response is valued, and they experience emotions that may not be available to them at other times. As a special education teacher my goal each day is to show my students new things and explore the world with them. I consider MEAC to be an essential part of the journey I take with my students.
Bridget A. Flynn, Special Educator, Delrey School