With the state of the economy today, many programs across the country are facing more and more cuts, and education is not immune to this trend. Often, it is in the area of fine arts education where these cuts begin.
However, the University of Kentucky chapter of the Kentucky Education Association Student Program (KEA-SP) believes the loss of arts and music programs leaves a huge void in the humanities. As a result, the UK KEA-SP recently held an Arts for Smarts day at Cardinal Valley Elementary School in Lexington.
Sponsored by a National Education Association (NEA) Community Learning through America’s Schools (CLASS) grant, Arts for Smarts was designed to provide third, fourth and fifth grade students with activities that will teach math, science, language arts and social studies through visual art, music and dance.
“The focus of this project is to demonstrate the possible uses of arts as creative means for teaching core content material,” said Kevin Fox, co-president of UK’s KEA-SP and a student Ambassador in the UK College of Education. “Not only does this provide extraordinary opportunities for students to enjoy learning, but it also sparks creative thinking that has been proven to help students later on in their academic careers.”
Activities used to stimulate the students’ minds included:
Recyclable Art – Students used various recyclable materials to create anything they wished while learning about environmental sciences and pollution prevention.
Music Madness – Students made a maraca to learn about the basic components of sound and vibrations.
Young Authors – Students wrote and illustrated their own books emphasizing the language arts.
Fossil Fun – Students made their own cast fossils to learn more about the natural sciences.
KEA-SP also worked with KEA-Retired, the Fayette County Board of Education and the UK Art Education Program to put on this event. In addition, community donors donated supplies and funds to help make the program possible.
“As representatives of the KEA Student Program, we are focused on providing professional development opportunities and experience for future teachers and are committed to providing community outreach focused on bettering public education,” Fox said. “This outreach project epitomizes the goals and platform of what KEA and NEA stand for as organizations as we work to help better education for our future students.”
The NEA Student Program, the national affiliate of KEA-SP, is a grassroots organization that serves students nationwide and helps prepare them for jobs in education. The NEA-SP provides opportunities for professional development and leadership training and promotes student concerns.