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Creative arts help develop essential communication skills, as the children learn to express themselves through their creations. Studies show that arts also raise self-confidence and build effective problem-solving skills. The arts instill values, both personal and social, and is a medium of expression of one's reflection on society. Art education can give children a voice, and potentially a voice for change. Art education in migrant schools largely fails to teach creativity and imagination. One reason may be that art is usually taught by teachers whose training is in other courses, e.g., math, language, and science. These teachers assume the extra duty of teaching art without additional training. Many schools with fewer resources do not offer art classes at all.
Program Goal and Objectives
Our arts programs consist of six parts:
1. Instruction in the basics – Volunteers instruct students on artistic techniques and the correct ways to use various tools and materials.
2. Creative expression exercises – Students create works of art based on a variety of prompts given by volunteers (for example, describe and draw a recent dream). The aim is to help students become comfortable with expressing themselves through different mediums.
3. Games – Students play games that build teamwork, trust, confidence and communication ability (for example, icebreaker games, charades, human knot, trust falls).
4. Student journals – After each activity, the children write a journal entry about their understanding of the 4 C's in relation to the arts activity. At the same time, the volunteers give individual feedback to each student. Each student keeps a portfolio with their artwork, journal entries and self-evaluation forms, which serve as a record of his or her personal development.
5. Student exhibitions and performances – Volunteers help students prepare their best pieces for exhibitions and competitions. These events serve to further motivate and engage the students. Emphasis is on self-improvement and positive reinforcement, not competition.
6. Visiting artists - Our programs have also featured workshops with guest artists and musicians, including SambAsia (Brazilian/Japanese/Korean fusion percussion and dance group), Tasmin Little (British violinist) and Michele Koltz (Luxembourgian painter). These special visits have provided unique opportunities for the students to work with experts. The visiting artists serve as role models that inspire and engage the children.
To contribute to this program, please see our “Donate” page.