Special to The Record
Waterloo Elementary School teacher Natalie Barr and her kindergarten class of bright-eyed superstars were dressed to the nines last Wednesday as they rocked the premiere of the group’s very own self-made movie, Adventures of Fairy Tales!
The film was directed and produced by Barr herself, and it’s been a tradition of hers since 2018 to have her class of new students act in a production that teaches them all sorts of valuable skills like confidence and reading.
Barr said this year’s film was segmented into five classic fairy tales instead of just one. When asked why she said it’s because all the students had such beautiful and different personalities, she couldn’t choose just one to be the lead.
From Goldielocks to Cinderella, the classic tales were acted out by the kids and presented to family and friends alike at the Waterloo Maison de la Culture (After they walked the red carpet, of course).
The culmination of hundreds of hours worth of filming, recording and editing was a final product of around an hour, featuring her 15 students as cast members.
“It was challenging, but super rewarding. The kids loved it too, and I tried to make it as stress-free on them as possible,” Barr said.
The movie started production around April, as she said whenever there’s a new class at the start of the year they’re naturally quite shy, but “come April, they’re happy to be in front of the camera and just keep wanting more!”
While Barr herself was responsible for filming, costumes, editing and just about every other aspect of movie magic, she said it was thanks to her fellow colleagues that she had time to get it done, with many allowing her to take individual students from their class to film during Barr’s break periods.
Many also helped with voiceover work and posters with each year’s movie, getting more involved as they learn the ways of filmmaking with their young stars.
“The older kids come back year after year still talking about it,” Barr was happy to say, “they’re even happy to help the new kids learn and practice their lines.”
The reason for her passion, she explained, was not only to see the kids happy, but also to teach them in a way that’s exciting and hands-on for the students.
While the collaboration acts as a confidence builder, she added that “learning to read their script teaches them to read in a way that makes it exciting, and teaches them the importance of learning these things.”
But aside from teaching, it’s also because Barr wanted a way to give back and keep the memory of the beautiful groups alive, seeing it as a sort of time capsule they can look back on when they’re older.
Despite the huge undertaking and personal hours that go into the project, she said she hopes to continue it for as long as she can, as at the end of the day “a movie is the best gift I could give these beautiful students.”
During a speech before the movie began, she admitted it was always during the unveiling that she got choked up, but the smiles on the students’ faces said more than 1,000 words alone.