The International School of Zug & Luzern is world renowned for it's high quality academic and arts programme. They take pride in their dynamic and hands-on learning opportunities which are offered in and outside the classroom. ISZL is a community of international cultures and connects students to the greater world around them.
In 2022, ISZL challenged The Audio Story Company to come to Switzerland and help their pupils and teachers improve their self-expression through creativity.
We accepted that challenge.
To offer the pupils of The International School of Zug & Luzern a high quality theatrical experience, whilst providing industry leading workshops to pupils and teachers alike.
7 Performances of Happiness Collectors, playing to 500 pupils.
9 'Soundscapes & Storytelling' workshops, exploring how to make your own audio-stories.
7 uniquely curated workshops for Early Years Learning, Kindergarten and Grades 1 through 4.
1 school-wide workshop focusing on self-expression, inspired by the wizarding magic of Harry Potter.
1 Professional Development Session for teachers, teaching assistants and school facilitators.
How We Did It:
There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to curating a programme of work that encompasses 500 pupils across 7 academic year groups, so we had to start from scratch, with a blank page
In the beginning we worked directly with the Performing Arts Teacher of ISZL to identify some core objectives that we wanted to achieve with each year group. We also wanted to ensure that the workshops and performances that we brought to Switzerland were complementary to International Baccalaureate curriculum.
One of our main objectives was to deliver a theatrical experience that was unique and empowering to the pupils. There was only one choice; Happiness Collectors. For ISZL we would need to increase our performance capacity, raising our usual audience size of around 30, closer to 100. This meant working with our international supply partners to facilitate extra wireless headphones to Switzerland.
We also wanted to create a sense of community within the school, and Happiness Collectors was the perfect vessel to do so. For weeks before our arrival, we asked the school teachers to display our posters in classrooms, gym halls and lunchrooms. This generated a tangible level of excitement amongst pupils, and really heightened the wonder around the mysterious Happiness Collectors.
Happiness Collectors fever took over the school, and everyone from pupils to teachers, janitors to kitchen and office staff were vying to get their hands on a coveted Happiness Collector badge.
Creating a programme of workshops that included 500 pupils across 7 year groups, in only 3 days, was no easy feat.
We knew we wanted to bring our unique flavour of audio-immersive storytelling to the pupils and teachers of ISZL; so we worked collaboratively with the school to identify which age groups would benefit from our different types of workshops.
This is what we came up with:
For the 4th and 5th Graders, ages 10 and 11, we would work with individual classes (homerooms). This allowed for the workshop to be intimate and focused. This workshop was designed with inquiry-based learning at the forefront, making use of in-school resources to allow every pupil the ability to start experimenting with sound and storytelling in a safe and encouraging environment. In total we delivered 9 workshops focusing on Binaural Soundscapes and Storytelling, where pupils were tasked with thinking and responding to sound as an emotive device and culminated with pupils starting to creating their own sonic stories.
For the 1st, 2nd 3rd Graders, ages 6 to 9, we would work with larger groups. This allowed us to maximise our reach. Similarly, these workshops were designed with inquiry-based learning at the heart of them, but were also engineered to maximise fun and enjoyment. Each grade had a slightly different twist, and was adjusted based on age, emotion connection to the arts and cognitive reasoning. Each workshop started with some drama games designed to get the pupils interacting with each other and introduced to the facilitators in fun and silly ways. Following this we would use our Audio Adventures or Binaural Soundscapes for thought and response exercises; the aim of which was to start evoking emotional and artistic curiosity of sonic storytelling. Each session was finished with an ensemble soundscape creation task where groups (big or small, depending on age) would use only their voice and body to create sounds of a specific place or environment.
For Kindergarten, ages 5 and 6, we created an introductory-arts workshop which offered pupils an exciting and imaginative insight into the world of drama and storytelling. Focusing on play and self-exploration, these workshops delivered heap loads of fun to the pupils, whilst grounding the learning in the arts.
For Early Years, ages 3 to 5, we created an outdoor learning workshop which solely focused on play. We used our extensive knowledge of drama games to start engaging the pupils with the arts and the environment around them.
Feedback from The International School of Zug & Luzern:
Angela Steinmann, Principal
"The best part about the Happiness collectors visit was that it touched our whole community, even non teaching staff. There are numerous initiatives that have sprung up since the visit eg Happiness Clubs in KG, garageband projects, and their effect is long lasting. It was really worth bringing The Audio Story Company to the school, especially at a time of year when the weather is grey and we need the boost."
Linda Graham, Homeroom Teacher
"A perfect link to our HWEO unit in Grade 4. The students were immersed in a story where they were the characters led by an enthusiastic and talented performer. Realising the performers don’t always need to speak to tell a story was powerful for many students. The students got an opportunity to participate in workshops using garageband to create their own audio stories. A perfect example of transdisciplinary learning for our students."
Lorna from the Office of Advancement
"This was an absolutely brilliant week of events and provided amazing stories and visuals to share with our community and on our website. It was something new and creative and engaged parents via their children. All over the campus parents were asking about the badges and why they got them. I would love to see this as an all-school project next year."
Dawn Mellen, Early Years Teacher
"Fantastic, brilliant, we loved it! Pitched perfectly for EY1 children. The concept of telling a story in an audio focused manner was very engaging for children and encouraged them to try something new. The performance aspect allowed EAL children to engage in the story, even if they did not understand all the words. The following days children were still wearing their badges and asking questions about the performance. The children appeared to be very focused and engaged throughout the entire experience and showed a high level of involvement. As teachers we were concerned some of children would not want to wear or keep on the headphones but in fact they all wore and kept the headphones on for the entire performance."