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Teachers sing and dance arts curriculum during Barrie workshop

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario members, from left,  Sheryl McNiven, Kimberly Newton and Jackie Wright enjoy a laugh while playing recorders during Wednesday's music workshop in Barrie.
Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/Postmedia Network

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario members, from left, Sheryl McNiven, Kimberly Newton and Jackie Wright enjoy a laugh while playing recorders during Wednesday's music workshop in Barrie. Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/Postmedia Network

Music isn’t just tapping your feet to a tune, it’s also about all-round learning skills.

Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) members are hearing that during the Summer Academy music workshop in Barrie this week.

“An education rich in the arts nurtures skills and attitudes that are required in the contemporary workplace, solving problems, communicating well and how to adapt to changing circumstances,” said federation spokeswoman Sandra Woodrow Hewitt.

Taking place at the ETFO offices on King Street in south Barrie, almost 20 teachers from across Ontario were singing, playing instruments and dancing to learn how music can play a role in their pupils’ education.

“They will look at integrating some core subjects with music and explore various elements of music, all to develop students’ skills for higher level thinking and creativity,” Woodrow Hewitt said.

Workshop presenter Shelly Sturk said teachers – regular classroom instructors, music teachers and phys-ed instructors - from kindergarten to Grade 8 took part.

“Music relates to everything we do,” she said. “We’re looking at integrating music and all the elements of the arts into (everyday) subjects.”

While the workshops are based on the performing arts, it’s also about helping teachers to encourage students to interact using music.

“It is collaborative. You have to work with one another and in groups,” Sturk added. “It’s about making connections for students and teachers. We have to teach kids to work together.”

Sturk, who has made similar presentations in Stratford and Kingston, said music is close to everyone’s brains and their hearts.

“One thing that music touches well on with kids is that some of them need to read it, some of them need to hear it, some need to say it and some need to dance it,” she said. “Music is math, language and science all together.”

imcinroy@postmedia.com



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