Stages of Wonder
Company of Fools created Stages of Wonder in 1998 to engage children in individual and collective creativity through the medium of the theatre. This innovative in-school program seeks to address the absence of an ongoing theatre experience in the elementary schools by introducing theatre as an essential component in the development of the whole child. To date, this program has served more than 24,000 students.
The program encourages elementary school-age children to explore creativity expressed through the theatrical arts. For many students, Stages of Wonder is their first and only contact with the dramatic arts. Facilitated by specially-trained Company of Fools artists, Stages of Wonder brings together storytelling, role-playing, theatre games and exercises designed specifically for each grade level. These activities are both structured and improvisational, allowing children the opportunity to create in their own personal way without the worry of getting it “right” or “wrong.”
Stages of Wonder also creates an equal playing field for all children, regardless of their personality or background. Any potential barriers observed by facilitators—such as language, self-judgment, shyness or lack of self-esteem—are addressed and dismantled. The environment of physical and emotional safety provided by Stages of Wonder allows students to experience and celebrate the success of their own, unique creativity.
Stages of Wonder currently operates in four public elementary schools across the Blaine County School District. Over the past several years, Company of Fools has also brought the program to child-focused non-profit organizations including Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, Y-On-Wheels, YAK!, the Magic Valley Boys and Girls Club and Camp Rainbow Gold. These special partnerships have enabled Company of Fools to impact groups of children with different and specific needs.
Perhaps the best indicator of Stages of Wonder’s effectiveness is the positive feedback we routinely receive from teachers:
As a first grade teacher, I witnessed an amazing transformation in a few of my more reserved students and watched them blossom as they took risks in expressing themselves through drama.
– Char Roth, Hemingway Elementary School
My students, who are in a dual-immersion program, find Stages of Wonder fun and magical – even my shy ones! The program builds self-esteem and encourages creative exploration with sound and movement – all in a non-threatening environment that enables everyone to feel safe to participate. When I take my students to the Liberty Theatre to see a student matinee, they remember Stages of Wonder. I believe that one of the direct benefits of Stages of Wonder and the student matinees is the cultivation of future arts lovers.
– Kathy Oliver, Woodside Elementary
We are grateful to our donors whose generosity makes it possible for us to offer Stages of Wonder year after year. If you would like to provide support for this very special program, please contact Denise Simone at 208-788-2512 or firstname.lastname@example.org.