Why arts education?
You know that moment when your kid is telling a story and you start laughing, because the story is so wacky and wonderful? And in that moment you wonder – where does this come from? Children imagine amazing things, and they do it naturally. Often as adults, we forget that we once had such free spirited, unfiltered creativity. This Washington Post article explains what’s so great about arts education. It’s not just about learning comedic timing or how to stay in character on stage. It’s about building creativity, confidence, problem solving, perseverance, and so much more.
And that is precisely why CARE Actor is passionate about awakening creativity in youth. Creative play is so, so important to learning in general. When we nurture kids’ imaginations, we give them the freedom to experiment. They can be silly. They can be ridiculous. They can be kids. By focusing on the process instead of the product, we give kids permission to be imperfect. And imperfection can be a beautiful thing.
There are lots of opportunities to nurture that creativity outside of school. Read on to discover a book, art activity, and improv game that will get your kids’ creative juices flowing.
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“Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”
Peter H. Reynolds’ The Dot is a picture book with a very simple premise. A young girl named Vashti refuses to create anything in art class because she thinks she can’t draw. Instead of chastising her, the teacher encourages her to “just make mark and see where it takes you.” The teacher encourages Vashti to express herself and try new things without worrying about whether she’s “good enough” at art. Not only does Vashti produce some cool artwork, but she also becomes more confident and genuinely interested in being creative.
Now make your mark
Encourage your kids to experiment with color like Vashti does in the book.
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Art Project Materials:
Video credit: CARE Actor
Energy: One to Ten
This acting warm-up game gets your kids (and you) centered in your own bodies and ready to be creative. Check out our video of a CARE Actor teaching artist leading Act It Out (TM) students in this exercise.
At C.A.R.E. Actor, we believe that arts education and community involvement are both essential parts of a child’s education. I just read this Washington Post profile of businessman and philanthropist Robert Smith, who is the second-largest private donor to the new Smithsonian Museum of African-American History. (Only Oprah Winfrey out-donated him.)
C.A.R.E. Actor student artwork
An entrepreneur who believes in philanthropy and the arts
Robert Smith made his fortune in banking, finance, and the tech world. As chairman and C.E.O. of Vista Equity Partners, he’s noticed that high-tech employees who appreciate the arts perform better at their jobs. "I look for a complete package," the billionaire explains. "When someone is a complete package, they are more engaged, more excited, more passionate about what they are doing." He even sees direct comparisons between technology and art, saying, “A beautifully written software code is a lyrical concerto.”
Smith is passionate about building communities and supporting worthy causes. His Fund II Foundation champions African-American culture, music education, and the environment. Projects include partnering with Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, NPower’s career training for inner-city youth and veterans, and diversity initiatives at Cornell University. He is the first African-American chairman of Carnegie Hall.
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A world-minded book
We love David J. Smith’s If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People, because it shows kids (indirectly) why philanthropy and community building matter. It’s a good conversation-starter when encouraging kids to volunteer, donate, or raise money for a cause this holiday season.
The author explains, “This book is about ‘world-mindedness,’ which is an attitude, an approach to life. It is the sense that our planet is actually a village, and we share this small, precious village with our neighbors. Knowing who our neighbors are, where they live and how they live, will help us live in peace.”
Whether you’re helping people down the street or across the world, they are likely strangers to your kids. If the World Were a Village is a powerful reminder that there is no “other.” We are all one people. We are all in this together. And when we can, it’s great to help our neighbors!
C.A.R.E Actor student artwork
A few ways to volunteer
Looking for ways your family can give back to your community and/or your planet? Here are some links to help you find your cause:
“I could just live off my money,” Robert Smith told The Washington Post. “It might be a good life, though it wouldn’t be a fulfilled life.” We might not have billions, but we couldn’t agree more.