The Heroes/Los Heroes is a bilingual interactive performance for K-2nd that teaches conflict resolution skills through music and puppetry. Students go on a four day journey across the world with Sam the Salamander to figure out how they can work together to stop all the fighting that’s been occurring between the animals living in Barton Springs.
The program starts with a question: What is a hero? Many of the kids answered “someone who saves the city” or “someone who helps and protects others.” When asked for examples of heroes, the responses were very much in favor of Batman, Flash, and the Powerpuff Girls, though one child, interestingly enough, answered “us.”
As I watched, it really hit me just how much is going on in the program. Because the program is bilingual, all of the steps toward resolving the conflicts are presented in both Spanish and English, not only exposing children to another language, but also providing repetition which aids in learning. By traveling with Sam the Salamander the kids also get to see different world cultures all the way from Costa Rica to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. In addition to learning about different cultures, there is also the element of environmentalism. The root of the animals’ fights has to do with the fact that developments are going up in and around Barton Springs, the animals’ habitat, resulting in a shortage of resources that forces them to share.
However, what really made the experience special was that it was interactive. There was no way anyone could only “view” this performance—by being present you became a participant. The process of resolving a conflict and learning how to share were not merely explained, but experienced by everyone involved, and the positive effects of this kind of learning could be seen clearly and immediately.
I realized at the end of the day that that one kid was right; we had all become everyday heroes.
Author: Maria Quinn, Marketing and Development Assistant VISTA