What is CODE and its mission?
CODE (Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators) was born in 1970 under the leadership of a small group of educators who believed that Ontario drama teachers needed an autonomous organization to address their needs. From an initial conference at Queen’s University to today’s province-wide services, CODE has evolved into a registered Drama and Dance, not-for-profit charitable agency affiliated with many drama organizations, notably Theatre Ontario, Theatre Canada, IDEA (International Drama in Education Association), AECO (Arts Education Council of Ontario) and others. Its members are mainly teachers, but the organization also welcomes freelance artists, Faculty of Education students, corporate sponsors, suppliers and all others who share its interests.
CODE‘s goal is to “encourage and support the development of drama and dance in education in Ontario.”
To do this, CODE:
- Promotes strong arts education in schools and communities across Ontario
- Provides a forum a forum for the exchange of ideas
- Provides leadership and advocacy in drama and dance in education
- Provides professional development in drama and dance in education
- Cooperates with existing arts agencies and education organizations.
To accomplish these goals and objectives, CODE has:
- AN INTERACTIVE WEBSITE with articles, resources, a discussion forum, lesson plans, links to arts organizations and more. Click here!
- A CODE CONFERENCE, an annual event for drama and dance educators. An exciting opportunity to participate in professional development and network with other educators in Ontario.
Brooke Charlebois, President of CODE, was kind enough to answer a few questions and give us a little more insight:
What does CODE offer drama and dance educators?
We offer all teachers Professional Development opportunity (annual conference and smaller PD opportunities throughout the year around the province), print and video resources for teaching drama and dance (available on our website). Right now all of our content is English but we are in the process of having some of it translated into French. Networking opportunities, a way to stay in the loop about things related to drama and dance in the province such as writing opportunities, theatre and dance festivals, professional workshops etc. (This is available on our blog and our mailings to members). CODE board members are also available to come to schools or boards to provide specific workshops based on the needs of the participants.
For CODE members we offer a discount to all of our PD and we also have an on going discounts and benefits program where companies offer their products or service to code members at a discount in exchange for being listed on our site.
Tell us more about the upcoming CODE conference!
Our upcoming conference will be Oct 18-20th at the beautiful Deerhurst resort. The theme of this year’s conference is “Back to Basics” so we are focusing on the basics of drama and dance for the new teach, but also, for the more experienced teacher we are looking at how to bring those basic skills into the 21st century to keep our students engaged.
What does this organization mean to you?
CODE is very important to me because as a teacher and as a parent I feel very strongly that arts education is critical in our education system. If we are hoping to produce children who will be able to be successful in this ever changing world we need innovative and creative thinkers, which the arts helps to develop. The challenge is that many teachers may recognize the importance of the arts, but not know how to teach them or where to start. CODE can help provide that support to teachers who are just starting out on their journey of teaching drama and dance. For teachers who have a strong drama and/or dance background, CODE provides a support network of like-minded teachers who they can look to for ideas and inspiration. CODE also works tirelessly to advocate for the importance of drama and dance in the curriculum to the Ministry of Education, school board, parents, in Ontario, in Canada and internationally.
Shakespeare in Action will be at the October CODE conference, leading an interactive workshop to kick off the Friday-night social. We hope to see you there! Hear what CODE members have to say about this event and wonderful organization!