MTYP STUDENT BECOMES THE TEACHER
Since appearing in her elementary school’s holiday concert and being a narrator in her high school’s production of Peter Pan, Grace Minsky has loved being on stage.
The bubbly twenty-something performer just completed her sixth summer as an instructor and teaching assistant at MTYP’s Summer Camps.
“I love this place. Always have,” she says smiling at the thought of seeing MTYP’s 2008 prodution of Frog and Toad. “After the show, I remember saying I really wanted to take classes here, but my parents couldn’t afford it at the time. So I never got to do it until the ASL program, because it was free.” ASL stands for After School Leaders. A funded initiative from Healthy Child Manitoba, ASL is offered free to participants and is open to all Manitoba high school students age 14 and up. ASL allows students the opportunity to explore career options and identify an area that taps their potential and passion. At MTYP, in addition to the theatrical education opportunities, students are also provided with bus tickets to facilitate attending classes at our facility, and each class opens with a meal provided to keep them energized through this valuable after school program.
Grace was 15 when she was offered a chance to be a teaching assistant for the summer. She keeps coming back because she loves kids.
“One of the biggest things I love is when kids come in shy and then they blossom throughout the week and they make this beautiful performance together and they make so many friends. It’s so sweet to witness. I always feel emotional at the end. Every single day all of these kids are together and when they say goodbye, it’s bittersweet.”
Minsky, who is joining the Department of Education at University of Winnipeg this fall, says theatre has many benefits for young children. “There are a lot of problem solving skills that kids learn. Along with social skills, like making new friends. They also get out of their own heads, out of their shells and open themselves up to the world.”
She says teaching classes with physical distancing presents some unique challenges. ”A lot of games need to be altered to have social distancing. And some games can’t be played. But overall it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be.”
She says the teachers sometimes resort to competitions like “first person to touch this wall wins.” This forces everyone to run away from each other. “When we make sock puppets, I have a sock puppet ruler princess who makes rules. So she can yell and make rules. But it’s not me, it’s just the sock puppet talking.”
In mid-August, Minsky assisted in the camp “Go Live at Fort Whyte Alive” where the campers were at Fort Whyte Alive on Monday and Friday and MTYP for the rest of the week. The theme was wilderness adventurers.
What took place is typical of a day at summer camp. “We warmed up our bodies and voices and made a map together. We decorated the pieces of the map together, put the map together like a puzzle and then we went on a scavenger hunt following the map and clues and then we came back and had a freeze dance party to celebrate. Then all the kids got medals.”
Minsky says her plan was to be a high school teacher but she ended up doing her practicum in an elementary school. “I loved it. I love working with young kids. I don’t know why I ended up choosing high school in the first place. So I switched it. Now my plan is to teach a grade 5 classroom.”
We can’t wait to see what’s next for Minsky, who’ll dazzle any student whether they’re in a school classroom or a studio at MTYP.
Registration for fall classes is now on. You can also sign up for our After School Leaders program and audition for other performance company opportunities.
For more information on MTYP’s financial assistant programs, visit: https://mtyp.ca/financial-assistance/