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Kaleidoscope Community

Kaleidoscope is an umbrella of programs that celebrate the unique voice and creative expression of neurodivergent individuals and individuals with disabilities through the performing arts. 

Kaleidoscope Community is set of professional development opportunities for educators, aides, and administrators, bringing the arts into the classroom and community space. 

Connect with others in your field as you explore how artistic thinking, theatre, storytelling, and creative movement are tied to social emotional learning, confidence, communication, and community building.

2021 Kaleidoscope Community Series

Join us for all 4 workshops!

Click here to join us for the full Kaleidoscope Community 2021 Series for only $100!

  • October 16, 9am-12pm: Theatre for All in Learning Spaces
  • November 13, 9am-12pm: Visual Thinking Strategies
  • December 11, 9am-12pm: Movement for All in Learning Spaces
  • January 15, 9am-12pm: Sensory-Based Storytelling
More Info

October 16

Theatre For All in Learning Spaces

with Sara Brunow, Asolo Repertory Theatre

Theatre is for everyone!

In this dynamic workshop, participants will collaboratively explore theatre concepts, skills, and activities that build critical thinking, creativity, and community in your classroom. 

Cost: $25 or "Pay What You Can" for Classroom Educators


More Info

November 13

Visual Thinking Strategies

with Ben Jewell-Plocher, Embracing Our Differences

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a collaborative, student-centered teaching method that improves critical thinking skills and fosters inclusive community-building dialogue through facilitated discussions of visual images. A huge bonus to VTS is you do not need special art training to use this strategy and the pedagogy is developmentally appropriate across all age and learning levels. Workshop participants will experience VTS first hand and explore opportunities for student application.

Cost: $25 or "Pay What You Can" for Classroom Educators

More Info

January 15

Sensory-Based Storytelling

with Sara Brunow, Asolo Repertory Theatre

Sensory-Based Storytelling is a creative method of empowering students to express their thoughts and ideas, deepen connections to language and stories, and develop imaginative explorations in the classroom. In this workshop, participants will use simple and accessible sensory tools to create an environment of collaboration and play, and learning how to connect with each other (and with their audience) in innovative ways.

Cost: $25 or "Pay What You Can" for Classroom Educators

More Info

December 11--Available soon!

Movement For All in Learning Spaces

Information available soon!

Cost: $25 or "Pay What You Can" for Classroom Educators

Meet the Teaching Artists

Sara Brunow (she/her) is a theatre artist and educator, originally from the Washington, D.C. area. She has worked as a performer, director, producer, arts administrator, teaching artist, artistic adaptor, sensory storyteller, and arts integration specialist. Sara completed her BFA in Music Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory and went on to be a professional performer for several years in the DC theatre scene. She received her MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Central Florida, where she specialized in creating sensory-aware theatrical experiences with neurodivergent individuals.  In 2014, Sara participated in Dream: The Joy of Creating through Oily Cart Theatre and Rose Bruford College, where she received a Certificate in Theatre for Young Audiences with Complex Disabilities.

Sara has worked within the education and community engagement departments of several theatre companies around the country including Orlando Repertory Theatre, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Theatre Under The Stars, and now Asolo Rep. In her former role as Director of Community Engagement at Theatre Under The Stars, she was the program director of several large-scale community programs, focusing on accessibility, inclusion, and equity. Sara has a passion for developing theatre in spaces where it can help to amplify voices, using play to make human connection, and leading with kindness, learning, and joy.  She is currently the Muriel O'Neil Education & Engagement Director at Asolo Rep.

Ben Jewell-Plocher (he/him) creates, develops, evaluates and implements all education programs and initiatives offered by Embracing Our Differences. He has spent the entirety of his career serving arts non-profits including the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and The St. Louis Muny. Most recently, Ben served as director of education for Sarasota Opera where he oversaw the commissioning of two new works for young voices and expansions in after-school and in-school programming. Ben holds a Bachelor of Music from Butler University in Indianapolis and a Master of Music in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He currently serves on  several arts education advocacy committees including the Sarasota County Arts Education Partnership, Sarasota Community/School Partnerships for the Arts, and Manatee Arts Education Council, and is a frequent presenter at the Florida Alliance for Arts Education’s annual summit. In his free time, Ben enjoys attending local performing arts events with his husband Eddie and trusty lab/pointer mix Daphne.

Don Herndon (he/him) is the Director of Business Development at Easterseals Southwest Florida. He has resided in Sarasota for the past 25+ years. Mr. Herndon graduated from the University of South Dakota with a BS in Political Science.

He completed his teacher certification through a program sponsored by the School Board of Manatee County called Alternative Certification for Educators (ACE). He is currently certified to teach Exceptional Student Education Grades K-12 and Elementary Education Grades K-6.

Mr. Herndon came to Easter Seals Southwest Florida as a teacher’s aide in the VIP Academy Program. He soon moved on to be a teacher’s assistant and following some staff turnover was made teacher of the VIP Academy based on a temporary teacher’s certification issued to him through the State of Florida. During his first year as teacher, Mr. Herndon completed all the requirements of the ACE program including his certification in elementary education which elevates him to the status of “highly qualified” according to the School Board of Manatee County.

Prior to coming to Easter Seals, Don worked as a Production Supervisor and later an Employment Specialist for Ridge Area ARC in Avon Park, Florida. He later accepted a position as Supervisor of the Sarasota County Office of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation where he worked for 11 years. His experience at the Division and Ridge Area ARC has proved to be invaluable in his work here at Easter Seals Southwest Florida. Mr. Herndon enjoys giving his students an opportunity to learn real-life skills in the real world which assists them in becoming successful, independent adults.

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