Des Moines Public Schools Use ‘Lion King’ to Teach Arts

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A new partnership with Des Moines Public Schools and the Des Moines Performing Arts Center is using Disney’s The Lion King to introduce elementary students to performance arts.

The program is called One By One: Laying a Foundation of Learning Through the Arts. The  project uses themes formed around The Lion King.

“It is extraordinarily important,”said Ben Heinen with Des Moines Public Schools.

The partnership stems from Des Moines Public Schools’ involvement in the Turnaround Arts Initiative, a national arts education program to help boost academic performance in schools with high needs.

“Developmentally children learn very well through kinesthetic modes of learning.”Heinen said. “In addition to that it provides them with an access point to expression and creative generation of ideas.”

Almost 600 students will be involved in the program.

Heinen said the students at Cattell Elementary are responding better than expected.

“The students are responding extraordinarily well to this program,” Heinen said. “It seems very natural to them. They want to get up out of their seats. They want to engage their classroom content through an artform. The more we move in class, the more enthusiastic they become about the program  and learning through the arts.”

The One By One project comes at no cost to the students. The program is paid for by donations from Des Moines Performing Arts Donors, Des Moines Public Schools, and The Broadway League.

At the end of the program all the students will attend The Lion King on May 14.

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