This year’s Oz Project production, Munchkin Madness, continues in last year’s tradition of teaching autistic and non-autistic students valuable social skills.
Using drama games, movement, music, and working together toward a final production, a mix of 29 elementary and middle school age-students from five different school districts have learned about problem-solving, teamwork, conflict mediation, and making friends over the past six weeks.
“They are having fun learning about acting, but they’re also picking up social skills, learning about problem-solving, and gaining confidence,” assistant professor of educational studies Sheila Clonan, one of the Oz Project’s founders, told The Post-Standard newspaper.
The project – now a seminar for education and psychology students at Colgate – was developed last year by Clonan, associate professor of psychology Regina Conti, and several then-Colgate seniors.
“The 19 students in this year’s seminar class (EDUC 414) have worked very hard and dedicated themselves and their talents to developing, implementing, evaluating, and documenting this exciting project,” said Clonan.
This year’s performance builds upon last year’s Wizard of Oz, and features the characters returning to Oz, where they have to readjust and work out their differences with one another.
• Munchkin Madness will debut at the Palace today at 5 p.m. The free event is open to the public.
• The premiere of a documentary about the project produced by Clonan’s seminar students will be shown at 5:30 p.m. May 4 at the Palace Theater. Participants will have the opportunity to walk the red carpet with their families.