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Elizabeth Bruce’s Theatrical Journey

A phone rings. The voice on the other end reports that there’s an emergency: a teddy bear has broken its leg and needs to see a doctor right away. Thankfully, the phone was answered by teaching artist Elizabeth Bruce and her young students are now on the case.

This scenario is one of many “journeys” created by Bruce through her Theatrical Journey project at CentroNía, an award-winning educational organization in Columbia Heights, where she serves as Community Arts Producer. Theatrical Journey use the arts to develop problem-solving skills in students aged three through five. The students solve scientific problems in pretend play scenarios: “journeys.”

As summer reaches its middle, American parents and students alike begin to think about returning to school for the fall. Simultaneously, the U.S. Department of Education is working to finalize statutes for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the 2015 national education legislation that will impact student teaching and curriculum across the country. Just as policymakers are considering a new approach to public education, unconventional educators like Elizabeth Bruce provide a window into a potential future.

“I have the best job!” Bruce exclaims in a Columbia Heights coffee shop.

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