Penn State Berks holds fable workshop for Glenside Elementary students

Workshop is a collaboration between Education and Theatre Departments

READING, Pa. — Fifty-five third graders from Glenside Elementary School in Reading will visit Penn State Berks on Tuesday, Feb. 27 for a fable workshop beginning at 9:45 a.m. in the Perkins Student Center Multipurpose Room. The workshop is a joint initiative of the college’s elementary and early childhood education and theatre degree programs, and coordinated by David Bender, associate professor of educational psychology.

The Penn State Berks Theatre Program will present a performance of two of Aesop’s Fables, "The Ant and The Dove" and "The Farmer and His Children." The production was developed by the Elementary Theatre Project, a performance group that includes Berks Theatre Coordinator Jim Brown as a member.

Education majors enrolled in the Introduction to the Teaching Profession course, taught by Jayne Leh, associate professor of special education, will then conduct learning activities focusing on language arts, imagination and creativity, and the morals that emerge from the fables. Each child will leave with a fables book to read at home.

“Young children require multiple methods of instruction to adequately process content,” explains Leh. “This becomes even more important when we consider the diversity of the school and that many children may have limitations in terms of language. Therefore, the Berks education students will offer small group activities to ensure each child has an opportunity to process the theatrical performance and the message of the fable. Berks students will provide further exploration of the themes presented in the fables and encourage the children to consider what that means for them as a member of their school and community.”

Funding for the program is provided by the Berks Campus Arts and Cultural Fund. This event is part of the Professional Development School initiative that Penn State Berks and the Reading School District have partnered to create at Glenside Elementary School. The Professional Development School (PDS) formed in 2014 as a dynamic partnership in which college and school district students and faculty collaborate to enhance learning for all. The main goals are to enhance the educational experiences of all children, to ensure high quality preparation of new student teachers, to engage in furthering professional development as school and college based teachers and teacher educators, and to empower parents/caregivers as instructional partners in the education of their children.