Learning Through the Arts
Years of research show that Arts Education is closely linked to academic achievement in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skills, as well as improvement in motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork. Yet the arts are increasingly left out of academic curriculums, leaving students from low economic backgrounds at a distinct disadvantage to children from more affluent families who have more opportunities for extracurricular learning. Examples of past workshops include:
Literacy Comes Alive with Art:
Students team up with literacy coaches for intentional reading practice, enhanced by drawing, journaling, roleplaying and other individual and group activities that help students connect the stories they read with their own lived experiences.
Poetry for the Soul:
In a series of poetry workshops, students are coached by a local poet to write and perform their own original compositions. Using Our Next Generation’s video equipment to record and rehearse, students prepare to perform at the workshop’s culminating event – a Poetry Slam attended by an audience of parents, staff, and community members. In 2012 our workshop featured talent spoken word artist Nikki Janzen as a lead and mentor.
At this ongoing workshop, students are guided by a local artist to channel the inspiring sounds of smooth jazz into creative clay artwork. Student pieces are displayed throughout the community and at an end of the year showcase.
Side Streets to Main Streets:
Students learn to express themselves through multi-media storytelling. During the process they write songs, create beats, and compile an artistic video. Program leader Dave Olsen introduces students to digital technology, providing instruction on technical skills such as camera angle, composition, and editing to help students bring their vision to life.