Honolulu Theatre for Youth Teaches Healthy Habits to Youngsters

Honolulu Theatre for Youth Teaches Healthy Habits to YoungstersHonolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) performed "The Tiny Tree," an interactive theater production, for 35 enthusiastic preschoolers in the Head Start program at Kapalama Elementary School this morning. The production, designed specifically to promote positive growth and healthy living concepts to young children, is midway through its eight-show run at federally funded Head Start preschool programs across Oahu.

Written by local children's playwright Annie Cusick Wood and performed by Antonio Anagaran and Matthew Mazzella, "The Tiny Tree" explores what tiny trees and tiny children have in common while introducing young audiences to themes of responsibility, nurturing others and letting go. "The Tiny Tree" is the fifth in a series of HTY preschool productions funded by a $20,000 community benefit grant from Kaiser Permanente, which includes statewide performances to more than 9,000 preschoolers, along with interactive workshops focusing on integrating the concepts of creativity, imagination and positive development into the daily lives of keiki.

"We are fortunate to partner with organizations such as Kaiser Permanente and Head Start, which take a holistic approach to the health and well-being of our community," said Becky Dunning, managing director of Honolulu Theatre for Youth. "With their support, we are able to use educational theater experiences to reach families and keiki at an age where they are developing the habits and attitudes they will carry with them their entire lives."

"Educational theater is effective at teaching our keiki and their families about real-life concepts that can be difficult to express, such as emotional and behavioral health," said Mary Ann Barnes, RN, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Hawaii Region. "Encouraging children to live well and prioritize healthy habits starts at a young age, and provides a foundation of positive development that will support them as they grow."

Honolulu Theatre for Youth is Hawaii's non-profit professional theatre company providing theatre and drama education programs that make a difference in the lives of Hawaii's young people and families. Founded in 1955, HTY is recognized the world over as one of America's most honored theatres.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has provided total health to the people of Hawaii for more than 50 years, with physicians who are members of the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, the largest multi-specialty physician group practice in the state of Hawaii. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health. Visit kp.org for additional information. Become a fan of good health with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii: Like our page at Facebook.com/KPHawaii and follow @KPHawaii on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Courtesy HTY

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