École Fox Run School is offering an improvisation opportunity for students interested in drama.  

The school partnered with community organization, Improv Jelly, to offer an after-school improvisation experience for students during February and March.   

Students are having a lot of fun taking the stage, and making things up as they go.  

“I joined because I wanted to improve my acting skills,” said Anne Swainson, a Grade 8 student. “It’s been really enjoyable. I like coming because people are so energetic and happy.”   

Elijah Carlson, a Grade 8 student added, “I have a passion for drama. I wanted to be involved because I like anything theatre-related. I am really enjoying it and the chance to meet new friends.”   

In addition to having fun, students are learning how to build social skills and friendships, while learning social acceptance and engaging with their peers in a positive way.   

“We work really hard at the beginning to create a safe space,” said Nicole Leal, a co-founder of Improv Jelly. “That’s the most important. Once we build that, we also build awareness of basic improv skills through games and scenes. From there the students create their own fun. It’s wonderful hearing students laugh and be themselves.”   

Hayley Nieth who works with Improv Jelly explained that middle school is a great age to introduce improvisation.   

“I look back at myself at that age, and it was the most anxious and insecure time of growing up. Improv gave me a safe place to be - to look stupid, and have fun and be silly,” she said. “It also gave me a way to meet friends and feel accepted. I’m excited to be introducing improv to these students.”  

Students in an improv class.Photo provided by Chinook's Edge School Division.

Students recently participated in an activity called “Advance and Expand,” where one partner tells a story based on the other’s instruction to either add more details or continue with the story.  

Through the activity, students learn how to accept someone else’s improvisation ideas and learn how to be a better listener and communicator.   

“Improv helps people engage with each other in natural and authentic ways, and with a lot of laughter,” Leal said. “I find it incredibly healing and relaxing, and it's one way we can help to build a strong community.”  

The partnership between Improv Jelly and Fox Run was possible after a Town of Sylvan Lake staff member made the introduction.   

“This has been a great opportunity for our students,” said Don Rattray, Principal of École Fox Run School. “We appreciate that students have had fun and found an environment to build and strengthen social skills and build positive relationships. Thanks to Improv Jelly for taking the time to create this experience for our students.” 




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