Five days at First Stage

4:57 PM
Bryson, age six, and his nine-year-old sister Bethany are new to First Stage Summer Academy.  This week, we enjoyed following them around now and then to see how they responded to the curriculum. 

Monday:  These kids are nervous.  They don't know anyone here except each other and they will be in different groups.  Bryson is worried about that.  He wonders if he'll see his big sister at lunch.  But nerves are eased during beginning-of-day, which impresses both of them with its infectious excitement. 

Tuesday:   Again, Bryson starts out a little hesitant.  Later, he's taking a unique route through the building, stepping from cubby to cubby, enjoying his deft sense of balance.  And by end-of-day, he has made a friend, and he proudly announces it.  Bethany enjoys pretending to be Tweety Bird in one of her classes.  She thinks that her neighborhood friend, Heaven, would love it here at First Stage.  "I'm going to tell her she has to come.  She'll like it.  It's kind of like when we play teacher up in my room."

Wednesday:  Bryson announces that he doesn't feel so good.  "What's wrong?" asks the teacher.  "I'm hungry," says Bryson.  "He's not the only one!" hollers a classmate.  "Twelve minutes until lunch." soothes the teacher.  Bethany says that sometimes, getting up in front of people is hard, but once she has done it and she sits back down, she feels very comfortable.  She is experiencing the satisfying sensation of overcoming her fears. 

Thursday:  Bethany sees a baby in the bathroom and asks the mom how old the baby is.  She has very natural motherly instincts, which she puts to use in helping her little brother.  Bryson and his class are stealthily moving through the hallway, like spies on a mission. He has a very serious look in his eye as he keeps his back flat against the wall, scanning the hall for enemies. 

Friday:  Bethany is articulate about the week at First Stage.  "It was not exactly what I expected but I didn't know what to expect.  Everyone here is so nice.  That made it easy.  I want to come back."  Bryson judges the program successfully based on the fact that he has made two friends, a fact he happily crows about.  During final presentations, both children loved taking the stage for their mom, who smiled throughout both performances.  That's the best part of all five days.

First Stage photos by Erin Petrus and Mithra Ballesteros


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