Last night Australia's largest performing arts centre, Arts Centre Melbourne, revealed the nation's largest education program for performing arts, music technology and new media.
"Arts Centre Melbourne is in its fifth year of a strategic partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to promote and encourage community partnerships that support student awareness of civics and citizenship," said Minister for Education Martin Dixon. "We are also proud to support initiatives like the First Call Fund and the sixteen year-old ArtsConnect9 which offers assistance to primary and secondary schools facing barriers of access due to distance, disadvantage or special circumstances."
Arts Centre Melbourne Chief Executive Judith Isherwood said, "In an increasingly complex world, it is essential that our children and young people grow up to be more creative, more curious and more adaptable than has ever been the case in previous generations. Engagement with live performance, music, dance, theatre and new media is a powerful means to develop personal, social and cultural awareness, as well as to support cross-curricular outcomes from Prep to VCE."
With performances, digital learning tools and workshops for primary and secondary students, Arts Centre Melbourne Education Program is designed to facilitate quality learning and lasting engagement with the performing arts.
Since it began in 1983, Arts Centre Melbourne Education Program has engaged between 50,000 and 70,000 primary and secondary students each year, with up to thirty creative programs and special events. In 2013, highlights include productions such as War Horse and School Dance, workshops in the purpose-built Digital Learning Hub, and arts access funds including First Call Fund and ArtsConnect9.
Arts Centre Melbourne Education Program takes place onsite, in schools and online and are designed to develop key competencies, critical thinking and creativity. It supports teachers by aligning to the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) and AusVELS, and has been thematically curated to align with curriculum learning areas such as sustainability, identity and theatre arts.
Supported by Arts Centre Melbourne donors, the First Call Fund provides a subsidy towards the cost of participation in programs for schools. Since it began 1997, ArtsConnect9 has introduced regional Year 9 students to Melbourne's cultural treasures - our theatres, galleries, museums and libraries - and the outstanding local, national and international events they present. Sixteen years down the track, road and highway, more than 100,000 regional students have participated in the program.
In 2013, Arts Centre Melbourne will introduce its Partner Schools' Initiative, a three-year collaboration with twenty regional and local schools for eligible students to attend 2-3 events in each calendar year. Partner Schools will also share their knowledge about current needs in the classroom and influence new program development at Arts Centre Melbourne.
Pictured: School Dance. Photo by Tony Lewis.