Project Leadership: Project Co-Directors/Managers: Trish Lindberg, Cynthia Waltman and Kristina Lind
Project Description: Peace Child is an original, educational musical theatre performance experience for elementary school children in grades 3-8. It is an interdisciplinary Integrated Cluster project combining elements of music, movement, theatre, visual arts, education and social change. Professors Lindberg, Waltman and Lind worked with PSU Graduate Students in Integrated Arts, School Counseling, School Psychology, and Education, and undergraduates in Education and Social Work, as well as the Plymouth Parks and Recreation Department, the Flying Monkey Performance Center and Movie House, 35 children in grades 3-8 from the Plymouth area and the Kids4Peace Organization to realize this proposal.
The purpose of the project is to explore concepts of peace and different ways to develop bridges to peace and understanding between three different religions (Christianity, Judaism and Muslim) through a series of interactive interpersonal activities and the producing of an original musical theatrical performance directed by Professor Lindberg.
In 2018, Peace Child incorporated music created and taught by William Ogmundson, movement choreographed by Darren Biggart, and artwork developed and facilitated by Timm Judas and Stacey Lucas, as well as the writings of hundreds of children throughout New Hampshire. The PSU professors, guest artists and the Kids4Peace staff were assisted in their efforts by Integrated Arts, Education, Counselor Education and School Psychology, and Social Work majors through coursework and elected participation in the Cluster project.
In 2017, this project was a new endeavor, created to give an opportunity for Social Work, Education, Counselor Education and School Psychology, and Arts students and faculty to collaborate with several guest artists, the Kids4Peace Organization, Plymouth Parks and Recreation and the Flying Monkey Performance Center and Movie House and the community at large. This project satisfies the Mission and Vision of PSU by offering collaboration across the disciples of Education, Counselor Education and School Psychology, Social Work and the Arts.
The project seeks to transform faculty, students, and the community through an exploration of peacemaking, conflict resolution and the arts. By partnering with Kids4Peace, Plymouth Parks and Recreation, as well as the Flying MonkeyPerformance Center and Movie House, as well as local children in grades 3-8, “Peace Child” will have an impact beyond PSU. Teaching and practicing innovation in diverse and experiential projects that are interdisciplinary and integrated will impact society by giving an opportunity for faculty, PSU students, guest artists and young people the chance to develop their entrepreneurial spirit, their ability to tolerate ambiguity and their imagination and creativity. The need of local parents for high quality educational experiences during the summer is also a driver for this project. This can serve as a model for future projects of this nature, integrating arts and a variety of social issues.
By partnering with Flying Monkey and the Plymouth Parks and Recreation, and Kids4Peace, “Peace Child” establishes relationships with three vital community partners. The project’s success will greatly enhance future collaborative opportunities. The project will impact not only the faculty, guest artists and PSU students, but also the wider Plymouth community through the engagement of the grade 3-8 students and their parents. “Peace Child” will not only impact participants’ understanding of conflict resolution and peacemaking, but will also impact their creative thinking, ability to conceive and create visual art, music, movement and theatre.
The project advances PSU’s Education, Democracy and Social Change Mission and Vision by telling the story of peacemaking through making many things including a variety of art projects, music, movement and in the end, a collaborative theatrical performance. By incorporating an understanding of conflict resolution and peacemaking, participants will gain valuable insight and skills they will be able to bring into their everyday life. The final performance allows the entire community to share in the creation and reception of our project. High impact teaching and learning, cross disciplinary collaboration, student engagement and partnership involvement, and real world problem exploration are embedded throughout this experiential Cluster Project in a wide variety of ways including participation in developing and disseminating knowledge about conflict resolution and peacemaking, visual art interpretation and creation associated with the topic of peace, and the process of developing, rehearsing and performing an original musical production. “Peace Child” will enable faculty, PSU students, guest artists and elementary children to engage together in the creative learning process.