A second Champion on the Arts comes from the Kenai Peninsula. Elaine Larson is a music, movement and drama specialist in the Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science, a K-6 public charter school, which she helped to found in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD). Her special interest is in working with classroom teachers in the area of integrated curriculum. Elaine teaches her students based on the Orff Schulwerk approach to music education, and she collaborates weekly with each of her school’s classroom teachers in order to deliver the curriculum in an integrated way.
In 2011, Elaine made a successful proposal to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, which allowed her to offer a Level I Orff Schulwerk training course to all borough music teachers. This course was so successful that a level II training has been approved for the summer of 2013. Elaine has taught music for over 30 years and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education. She is the co-author of a book, Weaving the Strands ofLiteracy: Birds, and the 1998 recipient of the Alaska Outstanding Music Educator award.
Hundreds of KPBSD students benefit as a result of the Elaine’s Orff Schulwerk training for their music teachers. Through the Orff method, the teachers learn to guide their students to experience music through speech, singing, movement, playing instruments, listening and improvising. These activities, in turn, help students learn to create, understand and enjoy their musical experiences, fostering a lifelong love of music and the arts.