Guest post from aTES Theatre parent:
My child (11) has been in love with TES from her very first day of summer camp 2 years ago. It wasn’t easy to convince her to try it. At the last moment she was having cold feet and wondering if she should back out. She’s often felt shy about new people and new situations. Always unschooled, she participates reluctantly in most organized programming and especially resists anything that smacks of coercion. (Star chart for “good” behaviour? No thank you!). On the first day of TES camp she came out beaming, holding hands with a new friend: “Mom, I loved it! You can eat when you need to! There are gender neutral bathrooms! We all shared our pronouns! And we get to invent our own characters!”
There’s nothing quite like helping to shape a space, to make us feel that we truly belong there. Over the last two years in TES, my child has been part of creating a safe, constructive, and creative space, where the teachers and students work respectfully and collectively to lift each other up and make beautiful works of art. All week she can’t wait for Mondays and Fridays, when she jumps out of bed, excited for the day at TES. She has learned about music, dancing, democracy, trust, memorization, history, staging, choreography, Shakespeare, planning, self regulation, mutual respect, and how to work collectively with diverse groups of people. TES has also been a safe place to explore gender, sexuality and friendship beyond our home. Her joy and personal growth at TES have spilled over into our family life and into my own growth as a parent. Participating in TES has been life-changing for all of us.