Many people are not aware that Walt Disney World (WDW) has an educational program geared specifically for students that range from elementary school through college. Called Disney Youth Programs, it launched at WDW in 1979. Offered year-round, 7 days a week, these programs that focus on performing arts, education and/or field trips can give kids and young adults immersive and meaningful learning experiences that can affect the rest of their lives. There’s just one problem…
They’re only for groups.
Unlike many of the behind-the-scenes and educational programs available to guests of varying ages at WDW, which are open to individuals, virtually all of the Disney Youth Programs courses/classes are for groups of kids. School groups. Church/Synagogue groups. Youth choirs. Youth orchestras and bands. Dance groups. Scout troops.
And that’s just not fair.
I mean, take a look at some of the course they have available:
Every single one of these amazing classes fulfills many National Core Standards and the animal-focused ones have been accredited by places such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. but they’re only available to groups of kids, usually 10 or more of them.
Now, the Performing Arts courses appear to be for kids who are already in the mix of performing arts, so they’re specially-made for already-established choirs, bands, dance troupes, flag units, etc. And some of the classes and opportunities (like singing in Candlelight Processional) are by application only. So I’ll cut them some slack. But compare the above “Disney Youth Education Series” courses that strictly focus on kids’ education to this link of the behind-the-scenes events and tours at WDW that allow kids who just happen to be WDW guests.
Go ahead, click on the link. I’ll wait.
Notice that the words National Core Standards are never used for any of the courses? And that accreditation by places such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums are not mentioned for the experiences that include animals? So even though kids, tweens and teens are welcome to attend some of these tours, they’re not going to get the education that they would with the Disney Youth Education Series classes. And that’s just a shame.
I wish there was a happy medium of some sort, don’t you?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary