How has Canterbury helped your child become confident in the spotlight?

I don’t know about you, but one of the greatest aspects of the Canterbury experience that appealed to me as a prospective parent was the fact that my child would be given opportunities to grow as a public speaker. I can still remember coming to campus for an information session and listening to Burns Jones and Penny Summers describe the 8th grade sermons.

Anna Griffin (4th-Wesney) shines as Marty Moose in the 2014 Lower School Christmas Production, "A Holiday Moosical."

Anna Griffin (4th-Wesney) shines as Marty Moose in the 2014 Lower School Christmas Production, “A Holiday Moosical.”

I remember being so impressed that the majority of 8th graders actually CHOOSE a sermon over a more — I don’t know — introverted assignment like a research project. The former awkward middle schooler in me got butterflies just thinking about it.  But that’s the point, isn’t it? The 80’s were an awesome decade, but teach me how to public speak, they did not. In fact, it was not until college that I had a public speaking course. Now, at a school like Canterbury, kids are taught how to settle those butterflies and enjoy the opportunity to express their knowledge and creativity. So, naturally, at the information session all those years ago, the introvert in me reveled in the fact that my daughter would be  encouraged to speak with confidence in front of an audience. Sure enough, in Kindergarten, McKenna was asked to recite a poem in front of the entire chapel. In first grade, she performed in the Nativity play. In second grade, she read the Canterbury prayer before her Chapel Buddy, Cayley Pinson ’13, delivered her 8th grade sermon. In third grade, with Mr. McCollum’s guidance, McKenna played a role in the production of “Snew White,” even though she started the year unsure that she would try out for a role. Now, she is in 4th grade and more confident than ever.

Sawyer Cheek (K-Moore) sings his heart out.

Sawyer Cheek (K-Moore) sings his heart out.

So, how about you? I would love to hear about your child’s experiences and how Canterbury has helped to make the spotlight something to celebrate and enjoy rather than avoid. Send me an email if I may include your story along with others from around the school.

Teachers, you’re included, too. Is there a student who has made outstanding progress in public speaking or through the arts? I look forward to sharing your anecdotes in an upcoming post. Be on the lookout. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday break  to all of our readers!

by Andrea Crossley Spencer

Spencer_2014_073Andrea Crossley Spencer is a Canterbury parent to McKenna (4th-Hoover), a freelance writer, and a creative writing instructor in Canterbury’s After School Fine Arts program. Her favorite Canterbury tradition is Chapel Buddies. She loves hiking, chocolate peanut butter shakes and listening to all kinds of music, from Harry Connick, Jr. to David Gray.

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Canterbury After School: Arts Enrichment at Its Finest

At a recent piano lesson, instructor Catherine Lamb told Charlie White (2nd-Sacco) that the next piece he learns would be a little more difficult. He’d been doing great on the easier, beginning pieces, and Catherine felt Charlie was ready for the challenge. “Are you up for something more difficult?” she asked. He looked up at Catherine and smiled. “Hard is my middle name.”

Catherine Lamb works with a Canterbury 2nd grader.

Catherine Lamb works with a Canterbury 2nd grader.

Charlie represents what Catherine hopes all students will say or think while progressing on the piano. Catherine is one of 10 instructors in Canterbury’s After School Fine Arts program. In addition to piano, Canterbury offers after school instruction in guitar, flute, voice, percussion, violin, viola, yoga, dance (jazz, ballet, tap and lyrical), drama, and creative writing. Classes in the visual arts – Young Rembrandts and pyrography (wood-burning) –  are also available.

Director Kevin Brenner, lower school science teacher at Canterbury, is constantly looking for ways to broaden the program. “The After School Fine Arts program affords Canterbury and non-Canterbury students alike the opportunity to experience top quality fine arts instruction on a state-of-the-art campus,” he says. “Our instructors are among the finest in the area, and they are committed to quality instruction and building their programs and studios at Canterbury School.”

Looking ahead, one of Kevin’s main goals is to grow the scholarship fund established just this fall. “The vision for the program is to provide programs and instruction that meet the needs of all families who are seeking these types of offerings,” Kevin says. “Thanks to a grant received by our own Karen Niegelsky, our program now has a scholarship fund from which a committee will award some partial scholarships for students who make requests.”

Third grade teacher Penny Summers, founder of the After School Fine Arts Program, remembers the excitement around launching in 2009. “We had just celebrated the opening of our beautiful new Stafford Arts Center, and we wanted the building to be fully utilized,” she recalls. “We wanted it to be ‘humming’ with art activity! We knew that a vibrant after school program would be a great complement to our already strong arts curriculum, from which students benefitted during the school day.”

At the end of each semester, Andrea Crossley Spencer (right) and her creative writing students host a public reading of the students' work.

At the end of each semester, Andrea Crossley Spencer (right) and her creative writing students host a public reading of the students’ work.

Many research studies have confirmed the correlation between participation in the arts and enhanced academic performance. “In my experience, great benefits stem from engaging with challenging material over a long period of time, learning that failure is an integral part of success, and developing the discipline you need to sing, draw, paint, act, or write well,” Penny adds. “I have always found the arts to be a great source of joy and purpose. What a gift to give to a child!”

After school programming allows Canterbury to tailor instruction to the needs and interests of each student. The school has been diligent about hiring instructors who bring to Canterbury a great deal of professional success in their disciplines. For example, Catherine Lamb came to Canterbury from Charlottesville, VA, where she had a thriving piano studio for 10 years. Mark Charles Smith is active as a professional composer and classical guitarist, and he teaches music at New Garden Friends School and Guilford College. Viola instructor Kate Middel performed with the Liberace Quartet, among many other honors. Professional ballet dancer and instructor Kristi Fedor has had several ballet students who have won scholarships for summer intensive programs to the most prestigious ballet schools in the country.

The program is one more way that Canterbury lives out its commitment to the whole child. Instructors seem to enjoy teaching at our school as much as their students enjoy learning from them. It is exciting to imagine how the After School Fine Arts program will evolve to meet student interest – both at Canterbury and within the greater community.

Registration for Spring 2015 after school programming will begin Dec. 4. View the full list of offerings, and contact an instructor to secure a space for your child.

“In my experience, great benefits stem from engaging with challenging material over a long period of time, learning that failure is an integral part of success, and developing the discipline you need to sing, draw, paint, act, or write well. I have always found the arts to be a great source of joy and purpose. What a gift to give to a child!”

 – Penny Summers, 3rd grade teacher and After School Fine Arts program founder

by Andrea Crossley Spencer

Spencer_2014_073Andrea Crossley Spencer is a Canterbury parent to McKenna (4th-Hoover), a freelance writer, and a creative writing instructor in Canterbury’s After School Fine Arts program. Her favorite Canterbury tradition is Chapel Buddies. She loves hiking, chocolate peanut butter shakes and listening to all kinds of music, from Harry Connick, Jr. to David Gray.

Kristina Davis: Ready to Parade the Extended Day Program

The Canterbury Extended Day program led by our newest Extended Day Coordinator, Kristina Davis, is well equipped to welcome everyone with a bright smile and a warm greeting.

A hometown girl and graduate of North Carolina Central University, Kristina has come back to Greensboro with her husband, DeShawn Bowden. She’s excited to begin a new chapter as a professional in early education. Her goal is to provide the Canterbury Extended Day students with an environment that is safe, fun, and filled with creative energy.

Not only does Kristina bring knowledge commensurate with her undergraduate degree in Environmental and Geospatial Science, but she channels creative fun, just as she did in the Color Guard for the NCCU “Marching Sound Machine” in college. Her marching days gave her the opportunity to perform in the Rose Parade and pre-game show as well as in the Walt Disney World Parade. She also taught dance and kickboxing for 10 years. (Hmmm, do I imagine a new afterschool activity offered some time in the not-too-distant future?)

Kristina Davis is a former member of the NC Central University Color Guard.

Kristina Davis is a former member of the NC Central University Color Guard.

“What excites me most [about my position at Canterbury] is doing something new everyday,” Kristina says.

At the beginning of the school year, Kristina’s first imperative was to get to know her charges’ families. She sought information about the students and about what the parents feel is best as it relates to their children’s habits both in school work and play.

Kristina also makes a study of all the personalities. As she gathers and processes this information, she begins to formulate plans for the students.

“My vision is to make sure the students can get homework done, and have free time, field trips and time with their friends,” she says.  It’s something she has experience doing, since she was responsible for organizing special events for her academic department in college.

Kristina already has one field trip under her belt. During the last parent/teacher conference day, the Extended Day kids took a trip to the Greensboro Science Center, enjoying both the amazing aquarium and the zoo. Kristina recalls the excitement the children had when they were able to touch the stingrays, and the somewhat awkward, but humorous situation with the female tiger trying to spray her visitors along the border of her enclosure. It’s nature!

Canterbury’s first trimester is nearly complete. As we enter the middle of the year, Kristina Davis has hit her stride, establishing a good balance between free play, homework and activity. For the first 15 minutes of after school, the children are encouraged to play and let out some of their energy. Then they sit down and work on their assigned homework. As students begin to complete their work, the outdoor beauty of the Canterbury campus calls.kd3

As a student at Pilot Elementary, Kristina loved nature walks and butterfly gardens. She plans to introduce her students to those and many more fun activities.

“What excites me most [about my position at Canterbury] is doing something new everyday.” Extended Day Coordinator Kristina Davis

By Jennifer Powers Himes 

Hydrangea 006Jennifer is a Canterbury parent to Katie (4th-Hoover), wife to Jim, and an attorney with Tuggle Duggins P.A. She feels deep gratitude for the incredible spirit and vitality of the Canterbury “Nation.”  Being a relative newby to Greensboro, she is enjoying the easy access to outdoor activities and central location to all things beautiful in North Carolina.  She loves family time, reading, music of all sorts and horseback riding.