By Katie Loewen
The Western New York affiliate of Young Audiences has a new initiative on its horizon: Arts for Learning, a groundbreaking literacy curriculum designed by Young Audiences, Inc. that has proven success in school districts across the country. The curriculum blends the creativity and discipline of the arts with learning science to support student achievement in reading and writing, and develop young people’s learning and life skills. The arts-integrated Arts for Learning Units provide students opportunities to excel in the classroom through activities that tap into a wide variety of skill sets and learning styles.
Young Audiences was awarded a $17,500 grant for in school arts integration of the Arts for Learning curriculum. Building on strong, long-term partnerships with Holland Elementary and Buffalo Public School #95 Waterfront Elementary, Arts for Learning will engage students and help them develop important reading and writing skills, as well as essential 21st century learning and life skills.
“Over the past two years, I have seen, first hand, the strong, positive effects of arts integration on our region’s students,” says Director of Education, Nancy Sterman. “Students who are high need, low performing, and students who are English Language Learners are brought into the learning conversation through music, dance, visual and digital arts. At the same time, the arts challenge the high achieving students with creative problem solving and higher order thinking. Programs like Arts for Learning bring joy into the classroom and deepen our already strong relationships with partner schools.”
Arts for Learning has already completed its first national learning seminar at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Attended by over 50 leaders nationwide, and featuring award-winning arts in education expert, Eric Booth; this seminar was the most significant professional learning seminar ever held for Arts for Learning.
The next step for Arts for Learning will be in the spring, when Young Audiences will implement the curriculum at both Holland Elementary and Buffalo’s Waterfront Elementary #95. Each site will expand their program to include more grade levels in fall 2015.
The Arts for Learning initiative is made possible by JCPenney Cares and its customers who generously donated a portion of their transactions last August to benefit the arts in education.
ABOUT ARTS FOR LEARNING (A4L): Arts for Learning was conceived in 2005 by Young Audiences, Inc. in partnership with the University of Washington, and with principal support for initial design, development and implementation provided by the Starr Foundation.