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Volume 77, Number 13 | Aug. 29 - Sep.04, 2007

A special Villager supplement.

Back to School

Blue Man Group troupe members pounding on paint-covered drums in their long-running show “Tubes.”

Making a splash, Blue Man Group goes to school

By Melissa Korn

Bright colors, fun music...blue heads? While those are all staples at Blue Man Group shows, only the first two will be common elements at the theater group’s preschool next door to its 434 Lafayette St. theater, the Blue Man Creativity Center Early Childhood Program. Gearing up for its first year of operation for 2-through-4-year-olds, the center pulls from the sights and sounds of the Blue Man Group, focusing on “sensory tactile experiences” that help children grow emotionally and creatively.

“We draw inspiration from the educational philosophies that children do some of their most important learning through play,” the center explains on its Web site, theblueschool.net.

With a logo that incorporates a splash of paint, an electrical plug and a DNA double helix and a Web site that includes everything from a white paper on tot conflict resolution to a link to the Blue Man Group’s online create-your-own-art game, the program looks to address the needs of the whole child by way of creative expression. According to the school’s philosophy, such expression is a means of exploring and understanding both one’s own emotions and those of others.

In addition to creativity and emotional growth, the school takes the community network very seriously, writing on its Web site, “We believe that children flourish when deep human connections permeate all aspects of their lives.”

The two-day-a-week program for 2-year-olds, “Tactile Studio Workshop,” is split into classes of eight children and eight parents or caregivers. As the child-adult pairs work their way through various projects around the studio that focus on problem-solving, cause-and-effect relationships and self-expression, they will sometimes work side by side, sometimes have the child take charge and sometimes have the adults fade into the background so the children can make new friends.

“This approach provides very young children with a secure and comfortable first school experience and helps them build a strong, connected social foundation for their ongoing educational journey,” the center explains in online curriculum material.

That journey continues for 3- and 4-year-olds, who are expected to be left alone with teachers for three or four days a week after a short transition period during which their caregivers can help them adjust to the school environment. And the older children will be able to stay on at the school next year as it expands to include pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.

The Blue School expects to eventually run through the eighth grade.

For those not ready to handle the tuition, which ranges from $2,750 to $9,750 for the full school year, or who weren’t lucky enough to get into the fully booked classes for 2007-2008, the school’s Web site offers links and reading material that align with its philosophy. There’s everything from Daniel Goleman’s “Emotional Intelligence” to playfulparenting.org for the adults, as well as the more all-ages creative outlet jacksonpollock.org. And, of course, a link to blueman.com.

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