In a demo workshop, students and teachers check-in and warm-up in a unique way, sharing their names while moving their bodies. This is a look at how kids will learn at ATLAS.
“ATLAS is a small, progressive middle school for 7th and 8th grade students. We place theater at the center of our learning,” explains co-founder Maria Bartz, who explains that ATLAS Academic Theatre Lab on Audubon Street will be located at New Haven’s Neighborhood Music School.
The mission is to develop students the 5 Cs: curiosity, commitment, confidence, creativity and compassion.
“I really like acting because you kind of get to become someone you’re not,” says 11-year-old Benya Greenshpun, an applicant who thrives on-stage.
But, this isn’t just a program for theater lover. The kids will participate in activities such as the STEM Stagecraft Challenge.
“STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math,” Bartz explains to the kids who read clues then build a set using math concepts. “This kind of learning really gives kids agency over their own school experience. So, it’s really about creating independent thinkers who can be flexible in a wide range of situations.”
Bartz believes this will help youngsters in our ever-evolving professional landscape.
“The emphasis on process rather than final results is important to us,” says Diana Blank, Greenshpun’s mom.
The school – which will be aligned with the Common Core – starts next fall with about eighteen students and three full-time faculty members. Accomplishing a task brings feelings of independence to a growing child during these crucial years.
“This is when kids really start to explore and question their world and their place in the world and we think arts-based learning is an ideal format for doing so,” says Bartz.
Rolling admission takes place through the spring. ATLAS will be offering financial aid to about 45 percent of the student body.
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