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HomeArts & EntertainmentNew Cinema Series provides learning materials for students

New Cinema Series provides learning materials for students


BAY HARBOR – Over 500 students from six local school districts and homeschool families watched “The Book Thief” on an IMAX-sized screen last week.

The screening marked the first film in the Human[kind] Cinema Series, part of the Center’s free Next Gen education and outreach program.

“This series addresses Michigan Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies and Indicators through storytelling and characters,” said Next Gen director and educational psychologist Dr. Rachel Sytsma-Reed.

“These films will provide insight into how we can find courage and motivation in the midst of difficulty, how we can increase social capital through kindness, and how we can challenge ourselves to be better humans overall.”

Next Gen’s series was designed by Sytsma-Reed and an Advisory Committee of nine regional educators to help schools better address social and emotional learning, something that has become increasingly important as teens self-report worsening mental health.

Local school districts had so much interest in this screening that reservations to see The Book Thief were completely booked within three hours of announcing the event.

“I think, in a lot of schools, it’s hard to carve out time to do social-emotional learning. When our school knows any of these events are happening, it’s turned into a priority to come,” said Boyne City counselor Julie Sisson. “Even just traveling here and having the experience of being in the theater here is an eye-opening experience for a lot of students. Seeing the arts in person could be potentially life-changing.”

Next Gen will screen Hidden Figures in 2023 thanks in part to the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.

“Students are coming out of an intense time of isolation at ages where they should be actively engaged in developing and practicing interpersonal skills. Struggles to connect with and to understand one another impacts the school atmosphere and therefore individual students’ senses of belonging and well-being. Next Gen is committed to supporting schools and educators who work with our community’s most precious resource – our children,” said Sytsma-Reed.

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