by Jamie Cacciola-Price, EdD Student and Astor Program Assistant
Over 10 days during late July and early August, the Astor Fellows, under the program direction of Dr. Philip Taylor, explored “Arts Education Down Under” in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. The program offered Fellows, a select group of 12 NYC Dept. of Education arts teachers, the opportunity to explore cultural staples of the country, such as seeing Cosi fan Tutti at The Sydney Opera House, a visit to Taronga Park Zoo, a picnic at Hanging Rock, an “Aussie Rules Footy” game, and a play at Melbourne Theatre Company.
Fellows also shared rich learning experiences through secondary and primary school visits, and teacher training opportunities through The Sydney Theatre Company and Melbourne University. A particular area of interest was Australian Aboriginal history, presented by NYU Sydney, which shared many similarities to Native American history. Teaching artists and organizations, such as Ausdance, offered an inside look into the cultural dances and practices of indigenous peoples. Another highlight was being able to witness innovative teaching practices, such as the Kathy Walker Play-Based Learning Method, being utilized in a primary school setting at Noble Park Primary School, which serves a large population (88%) of ESL and immigrant students.
Overall, the trip was an incredible enriching experience both from an artistic and educational lens. Please visit the NYU Arts Educator blog for a complete itinerary, educator resources, and a daily journal of the activities and learning experiences of the Astor Fellows while down under.