Stone Soup: From the Classroom to the Big Stage

Producing a play co-starring preschoolers and residents at a senior living community?

The key ingredients are a cup of creativity, a dash of DIY, and a willingness to learn new things!

Earlier this year, our Des Moines students shared the stage with Wesley’s drama club, Acting R Age, for an intergenerational production of Stone Soup. It was a collaborative effort, and a wonderful learning experience for the children leading up to the big day.

To help the students prepare, their teachers developed Montessori lessons that explored the different parts of producing a performance. Here are a few of the lessons they learned:

What’s In Soup, Anyways?

The children learned how different ingredients, like fresh vegetables, can make soups both healthy and delicious. They planted vegetable seeds and nurtured their growth, from watering the leaves in the classroom to eventually moving the seedlings into a garden patch on the playground. Teachers also made cards with pictures and names to help the children identify parts of the vegetables, which were placed on classroom shelves. And to help the children learn the Stone Soup songs and memorize their lines, teachers displayed vegetable images on a felt board, providing visual cues as the students sang along.

Cue the Children, Stage Left

To help familiarize the children with the stage, teachers created a diagram of a theater and showed them the different areas before visiting the real theater for rehearsal. The theater diagram was placed on shelves near the vegetable cards, which helped the children learn about blocking and choreography on stage.

DIY Set Design

While the Wesley residents furnished the beautiful sets, the children also helped! They designed the landscape by crafting leaves and flowers. They explored their Montessori leaf cabinet’s different leaves and trees before deciding on a leaf for the production set.

Children who were ready for scissors traced leaves and cut them out. Children who were still learning to use scissors used a pin to poke and trace the outline of the leaf on paper until the shape broke free. Teachers also provided materials for children to paint them with, including coffee filters and watercolors.

Sharing is Caring

To further prepare for the play, the class read many versions of Stone Soup and identified themes from the story – like friendship and sharing. These themes came to life during the play, as the residents and children created beautiful memories.

From costume and set design to Montessori lessons, everyone pitched in and played a part in the play’s success.