Art Helps Kids Overcome Challenges Of Poverty
Community or public schools, a few in particular tend to have a substantial population of students who belong to the underprivileged sections of the society. Most of them are either eligible for free food or food at reduced prices and subsidies.
Woodrow Wilson, a pre-kindergarten to eighth grade school in Union City, New Jersey, USA enjoys a cosmopolitan population of children from diverse backgrounds. This city is one of the most densely populated ones in the USA and has a high number of immigrants and poverty.
Even as the school faces challenges that stem from limited funds in public schooling and the living standards of the students and their families, Woodrow Wilson has evolved a rich curriculum that uses visual and performing arts to help the students grow and meet the state standards. These fortified activities engage them intellectually and nurture their higher-order thinking skills. This evolved program works to strengthen their creative skills and induces in them a confidence in themselves and a problem solving ability and attitude which is needed in every facet of their lives in current times.
In particular a program called Multiple Intelligence Arts Domain in Woodrow Wilson encourages students to explore arts an academic area of their own choosing. The learning in this program is through hands-on activities and assignments where long and short term programs are designed to focus on the weak areas for children.
The school, through its unique programs guides the students to develop aplomb before a large audience and take the responsibility of their own learning and performance. The students at Woodrow Wilson get an opportunity to showcase their talents through their oft organized performances and exhibitions. The young artists are also encouraged to keep an electronic documentation of their work and record their own reflection of the work.
Building partnerships with esteemed art organizations like the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera, the school nurtures the children’s talent and some of them have even gotten a chance to perform on New York City stages. Artists of repute from varied disciplines devote their time to visit the school and mentor children in their own fields while helping the teachers integrate art into their core academic curriculum.
The school in itself and particularly the unique program has been extremely successful. The overall reading proficiency and mathematical aptitude has progressively grown over the past four years bettering itself by well over 90% and reaching a level much higher than the state average. The achievements of Woodrow Wilson has in fact been recognized by the state government as extraordinary and felicitated by naming it as a blue ribbon.
The example of Woodrow Wilson Elementary has hence established that when an arts integrated curriculum is designed, in alignment with high academic standards, it equips the children to discover and develop individual talents and gives them the tools to overcome the challenges of poverty.