Planting a tree on a school campus here in L.A. would on its own be a great thing to do, but we’ve taken it to the next level. In the opening performance of Secrets of the Heart residency, there is a live tree that is part of our set. We call it our Friendship Tree and it’s decorated with the wishes of our kindergarten students. Following our culmination performance we plant that tree on campus.
This is a story of two little girls from Cabrillo Elementary who were late coming back from recess. Their teacher went out to find them sitting beneath the Friendship Tree. “You two are supposed to be in class,” she said. “We had an argument,” one little girl said. “And we were talking about it,” said Angie. “We’re supposed to do that…right?” Angie asked.
That’s exactly what we’ve instructed students to do as we dedicate the Friendship Tree, with music and song as we plant them at each partner school.
Teaching children how to solve problems is inherently addressed through the arts, whether it’s through writing a song, using their imaginations to create a story, cooperating with each other to dance or making their own headdresses.
Building good relationships is key to creating success and that’s one of the many things we’re teaching our students how to do.
Photo by Brad Rumble