GES third-graders present ‘The Ugly Duckling’ |

GES third-graders present ‘The Ugly Duckling’

Ashley Noel Hennefer

Elementary school plays give students a chance in the spotlight, but more importantly, they also help students develop real-life skills.

“Children in the play read with fluency, and with expression and enthusiasm,” said Leslie Flynn, reading specialist at Gardnerville Elementary School. “It helps them develop life skills and will help them become future leaders. It really boosts kids’ self-esteem.”

Jill Harper’s third-grade class at GES will be performing “The Ugly Duckling.” The play will be performed for the school on June 6, with a performance at 1 p.m. and another at 2:30 p.m. Parents are invited.

Harper has been doing school plays for 20 years and she said that the children love being a part of a production.

“They love being on stage in front of the school and their parents,” she said. “They love using microphones, wearing costumes.”

Harper made all the costumes for her students, which consist of hats that make students appear as if they are all barnyard animals.

“She’s been teaching for a while and maintains such an enthusiasm with students,” said Flynn, of Harper.

The students have been rehearsing since February but have only practiced on the GES stage six times. During a dress rehearsal, another class came in to watch the performance, and gave critiques to the actors and Harper.

Notes included tips like, “Make sure you look at the audience” and “Don’t fool around on stage.”

“Mrs. Harper, I think you need to tell your students to speak up louder,” a young boy whispered into Harper’s ear.

Flynn said that performing plays helps children develop literacy skills, among many other benefits.

The play itself is a story about confidence and self-esteem. Harper chose the show from a ready-to-use interact program, complete with music and a script.

All of the students get a chance to sing, dance and speak. Nerves were running high at first but throughout the rehearsal, the children began to loosen up and have fun with their performances.

“At first they are a little shy, but after a while they are projecting their voices,” Flynn said. “They get that twinkle in their eye.”