Charlotte Mason believed in acquainting the children with Shakespeare. She said, "To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading ... lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life." She saw what others knew to be true.
As an Ambleside school our intentions are to introduce the students to the greatest dramatist the world has ever known, to acquaint the students with the beautiful English tongue in which he wrote and to provide the students with a complex story, with varied characters, twists of plot and turns of fate.
All students from the Preschool through Grade 7 become acquainted with Shakespearean comedies, tragedies or histories that are being performed via a reading of the narrative version of the play chosen. The younger grades also learn about Shakespeare’s life and times. All grades memorize a sonnet which are recited, for all to enjoy, during assemblies. The older grades are assigned roles from one or more plays, the play is rehearsed and finally performed for the younger students, school families and friends.
At our Shakespeare Fair, where we encourage all who attend to dress in Elizabethan costume, sonnets are recited by the Grade RR, R and 1 classes, Grade 2 girls do a choreographed dance around the maypole while the boys demonstrate a sword fight and the Grade 3 students perform a period-piece dance. It is a celebration of the year's learning and relating to that which is worthy and good.