Teaching Drama

Smarty Pants in the Real World

The sun-drenched common room at the south end of Columbia Garden Village retirement home in Invermere, B.C., is quiet most days. The shuffle of slippers on linoleum, the clink of a coffee mug in the sink, or the click of knitting needles are often the only sounds.

But every Tuesday and Friday, 18 kindergartners from Eileen Madson Primary School arrive in a yellow school bus and take over, turning the home’s common room into a classroom, and the home’s residents into active participants. The kindergartners go about their lessons, crafts and play time surrounded by the seniors who live there. Some elders watch from the sidelines, others roll up their sleeves and build block towers or indulge in a reading of a Scooby-Doo storybook.

A recent article in The Globe and Mail reminded me so much of Bradley Hayward’s wonderful play Smarty Pants. The central thesis of Smarty Pants is that the lessons we learn in kindergarten aren’t just for kindergarten, and that if we forget those kindergarten lessons, we forget the most valuable parts of our education.

That’s why you’ve come back to kindergarten. To let your inner child out. It’s no use having a ton of knowledge if there’s no dream behind it.

It’s a lovely notion. I think it’s second nature to those of us in the arts, but it’s a sentiment rarely found in the outside world. So nice to see it validated with a program such as this.

Learn more about Smarty Pants (and read some free sample pages) here.

About the author

Craig Mason