Gaining Perspective supports schools with a fully-integrated social-emotional curriculum

Over the span of nearly a decade as an Artist in Residence at William Smith High School in Aurora, Kerstin developed an Improvisation-based curriculum to teach teens how to be present and more self aware. 

Kerstin uses Improvisation to help students explore choices and actions in a variety of situations. As students become more self aware they begin to feel less anxious. They’re more willing to take risks. Students feel empowered to control the choices they make, first in games and then in real-life situations. When students are able to move beyond reactive behaviors, they’re better equipped to build conscious habits that lead to thoughtful life decisions.

Kerstin customizes each program to meet the unique needs of each classroom and school. As a result of her intentional planning with teachers and school leaders, students will be able to:

  • Develop habits that help them focus, manage distractions, and earn strategies to regulate their emotional state.
  • Communicate and self-advocate using clear and descriptive language.
  • Become more aware and accepting of other people’s ideas, perspectives and behaviors.
  • Challenge limiting thoughts or fixed mindsets when confronting a new or challenging situation.

Kerstin is passionately committed to helping students develop the self-management and self-advocacy skills that empower them to view challenging situations as an opportunity to respond and grow.

“Improvisation as a class was FUN, but it was more than just games. Kerstin sometimes made us laugh, sometimes made us cry, and always made us reflect upon our own lives. Kerstin has a real skill for breaking down the barriers that keep kids from connecting with others and with themselves. To see our students grow into self-aware beings who care about their communities was an amazing experience that I looked forward to each year.”
~ Lucas NewmanFormer Freshman Social Studies, William Smith High School
“When improv became a school-wide structure, it had a noticeable and meaningful impact on our students—saying “yes” became part of our culture. More importantly is the confidence each student developed to handle whatever life throws his or her way.”
~ Paul GrzybowskiFilm Instructor, William Smith High School
“The work of Gaining Perspective fills an important role that is missing in most schools. Improvisation gives students the opportunity to explore their emotions in a safe place, to take other people’s perspectives, and discover truths about themselves and their peers. Many educators talk about “social-emotional learning” but have little idea about how to actually teach it. Gaining Perspective programs and curriculum have the perfect mix of play, challenge, reflection, and honesty that help students develop a healthy sense of themselves, an appreciation for others, and a commitment to their community resulting in a positive culture for everyone in a school.”
~ Jackson WestenskowAssistant Director at Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts