From Pre-School to Pollack
AHA! has developed a program in partnership with Shepherdstown Daycare Center (SDC) to bring creative and educational experiences to children who might otherwise not have these opportunities. The project emphasizes creative ways to enhance early childhood development through the tactile experience of working with clay. The artist is adept at encouraging children to describe their creations. They learn many ways to create three-dimensional images. The children overcome their fear of “making mistakes” as they become comfortable in the tactile and malleable uses of clay.
The respected curriculum, developed by the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, regards Production as the basis for a Discipline-Based Art Education. In this regard, working with clay is fundamental to encouraging creativity in young children.
Children are asked what they want to make, based on classroom curriculum, stories and folk tales, their neighborhood and natural surroundings. They are instructed in the multiple ways to form clay, build larger forms, and add and take away from their sculptures.
The Cultural Plan that AHA initiated (funded in part by the WVCA) identified as primary challenges for our county: Under-funded and underserved arts, humanities and historical education programs in public schools; and lack of cultural programming for youth. This partnership with SDC is a means to reach many children who have been historically underserved and may not have access to cultural opportunities. Many of the children come from ethnically diverse communities in Jefferson County, including Hispanic, Indian, African American and Native American.
This is the third year of AHA’s enrichment program for children. The SDC has a strong partnership involving parents and local organizations. This is where AHA! wants to participate, to provide children with learning skills that involve visual and verbal ways of learning that are based on the arts. Emphasis is on children who may not have exposure to music, dance and the visual arts, putting them further behind more privileged peers.