Why and How of BEE part 2

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In my last post, I told you about our son Jon and the fact that we were headed off to an educational show.  I didn’t realize the impact that such a show would make in our lives.  It was a performance from SCR (South Coast Repertory) called Weedpatch Kids.  As soon as I entered the tent and realized we were going to see a live theater performance, I was looking for an escape.  But not my 7 & 10 year old boys, they were headed for front row seats!  The story was set in time of the 1930’s and reflected on the impact of the “Dust Bowl”, the journey of the people moving from Oklahoma to California, and their settling into California in camps.  This short 45 minute play opened up areas of communication and enabled us to go deeper into discussion than any book we had read.  I think they were able to identify with the characters on stage and that this helped them with their own feelings about moving to a new location.  What I didn’t realize then and am learning, is that it also caused pathways in the brain to open up for critical thinking and problem solving in real ways.


As I stated before, I am not into the “Arts”, and so I didn’t realize the effect that was going to have since I am in the beginning stages of learning about the impact of Arts on the brain.  I can tell you that what I knew at that time in our life was temper tantrums and meltdowns when trying to get math work done.   But as we started going to educational shows, I saw that there was a change in how Jon’s brain processed difficult to learn information for him, like math. By the time we saw the learning specialist, Jon told him math was a breeze and he was struggling with English (writing, spelling, etc..).   The doctor looked to me in amazement and asked what program I was using.  While I told him about the “new” math curriculum I found, I am now also sure that it was the educational shows that he saw that made a difference.  If I had known then what I realize now, that this is was all that was needed to help Jon with math, then it would have been much better for us all.


I am now learning that through these brief ‘interactions’ with the Arts that I was unknowingly helping to ‘plow the fields’ of his brain for ‘reaping a better harvest’ in math and science work.  I am learning from Mary Blouin, other Arts advocates and Neuroscientists that when you bring your child to an educational show, like the next one for Fiddling With History about Dr. Beanes, that you are opening up pathways in the brain for future success.


I saw the difference these educational shows made for my family and felt that more families deserved this same opportunity.  The idea to make them available through a “field trip” opportunity for all was born.  We hope you will join us at a show soon and see the impact for yourself.


Stay tuned for more on “How” …

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One thought on “Why and How of BEE part 2”

  1. Donna,

    It is really gratifying to read your story. It confirms what all educators, neurologists and neurobiologists have know for over a two decades. That experience, interaction, and integration of the Arts within an academic curriculum or as an avocation turns on synapses within the brain that stop and start neural pathways that activate different parts of the brain.

    This is actually a chemical/physical change within the brain. It is a cognitive change that is long term and permanent because with the Arts, you are learning with all of your 5 senses. Learning then becomes a whole body experience that stays with you as a memory.

    Within the traditional teaching model you utilize your eyes to see the blackboard and read your assignments, use your ears to listen to what the teacher is saying and your hands to write your assignments. About 40% of a traditional classroom is capable of learning in this linear, sequential, auditory way, but the remainder of students learn in a totally different manner. That is, the visual, non-linear, novel way.

    This different way of learning is not being addressed today and students who learn in this way are being labeled as dysfunctional when it is the educational system that does not know how to teach these students who should take on all the labels they feel free to assign.

    When teachers use creativity by integrating the Arts throughout their curriculum, every student benefits. Every child, in every situation, every condition, and every level is given the opportunity to increase their cognitive skills, build problem solving and critical thinking, as well as, a good self worth and happiness in what they choose in life.

    The Arts provide the vehicle for making learning fun and easy as well as providing for self-expression. This is a win-win for everyone.

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