Art can be one of the most important parts of a young student’s life. It teaches kids that it’s okay to be creative and take risks at school—not just in the art room, but in math, languages, and every other subject they study. The educational benefits of an art program are well known, but it’s still not covered by most public school budgets. The parents at Yick Wo Elementary make sure that their school’s students have art class anyway, and Schoola is forming a community to help them do it.
Serving San Francisco’s North Beach, Russian Hill, and Chinatown neighborhoods, Yick Wo relies on fundraising to provide enrichment programs for its 260+ students of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. The experiences of the children show that it’s well worth the effort. “School has a lot of rules to follow but in art you can be free. You can see what you have in front of you and then turn that into something different,” says Orly. “I feel like I can make anything happen. It’s awesome!” says Lars. Art class builds confidence and provides enduring lessons for the students at Yick Wo—as long as the school can continue to provide the raw materials for their inspiration.
Schoola is launching an effort and building a community to help raise $25,000 to support arts programs at Yick Wo. Here’s how you can get involved:
Donate used clothing to be sold on the Schoola e-commerce site—designate your donation to Yick Wo or start a fundraiser for your own school
Do your own shopping on Schoola.com—$2 of every $5 you spend goes to schools to save art, music, physical education, and other essential programs
Help us spread the word and build an even bigger community to support fulfilling the potential of all kids at schools like Yick Wo
Join us to make sure art keeps broadening young minds, opening new channels for self-expression, and fostering the creativity that fuels achievement for the students at Yick Wo.
Ready for an easy art project today? We have just the thing for you!
For this art project, you’ll need a sunny day, a few leaves (or other objects), and some construction paper. You can also buy special sun print paper at your local craft store, but we’ve found that inexpensive construction paper works just fine. Place a piece of construction paper in the sun. Have your child arrange leaves, sticks, keys, rocks, even plastic figurines on the paper. Leave the paper and objects out in the sun for an hour or two. The sun will fade the paper around the objects, leaving the area under the objects dark. The possibilities are endless, and the mess is minimal!
After being in school for nine months, outside is where we all want to be. Especially the artistic types among us. Because there’s no more inspiring place to make art than under the big blue sky. Here are a few ideas for bringing your child’s creativity out into the open air.
Take the easel outside. It’s that simple. Little painters really enjoy the change of light and sights and surroundings. And they can make any old mess without worry.
Gather rocks, flowers, pine cones, moss, sticks, and more for a still life. Have the children arrange their finds on an outdoor table and then draw together. Or the smaller ones may just enjoy making their “sculpture.”
Introduce the art of flower arrangement. Wild flowers are everywhere these days, and few little hands can resist picking them. When you get home, all you need are a few empty jars and cups of different sizes (just raid the recycling bin) and some water and scissors too. Let the kiddos experiment with different combinations of flowers and containers. Water and clippings will get everywhere, so this is a good one for the stoop or the backyard.
Ready to unplug your kids for a little bit? How about creating a homemade “Facebook” together! Here’s how…
First, gather materials from around the house (you’ll be surprised at how much you already have). Print photos of your children’s friends and family. Other materials that you may already have include old magazines, wrapping paper, stickers, yarn, and glitter. You’ll also need ten sheets of construction paper.
Start by folding the ten sheets of 8.5 x 11 (or 11 x 17) sheets of construction paper in half, and either glue the folds one on top of the other to bind, or stack them together and staple from the outside. To keep little fingers safe, glue ribbon over the staples on both sides.
On each sheet inside the booklet, ask the kids to tell you whom they wish to include and help them write their names at the top. Use the entire photo or help the children practice cutting out the faces. Glue these underneath the names and have your child tell you what they know about their buddies. Then, have them look through magazines or use stickers to help tell the story.
This is a fun way for the kids to spend time cherishing each of their friends while also enjoying the art of their own creativity. It’s a book that will surely be held onto forever.
One of the exciting things about having young children around is to witness their enormous potential for creativity. Kids love building, drawing and painting, making up and acting out stories, inventing songs and games. Given the right conditions, they can do this kind of thing all day long with very little need for guidance from us grownups.
So what are those “right conditions,” you might wonder? The first is obvious: time. Kids need unbroken hours of play when we’re not whisking them off to the next activity, when no other interruptions call. The second is also straightforward: freedom. They need us not to hover, not to say “no” or “try this” or even “good job” every two minutes. And if that seems hard to swallow, then the third condition should make it easier to give our kids the creative freedom they need: space.
To get started with your own space where your younger kids can do-it-themselves with art projects, find a space on a table or desk (or even an empty drawer), and have these things spread out so they’re at hand for inspiration to strike:
– blank white paper, lined paper, construction paper
– kid-safe scissors and glue sticks
– colored pencils and regular pencils
– old magazines (to cut up)
– tracing paper
For older kids, we’ve had great success with a stack of spirals that are leftover from the school year and some freshly sharpened pencils. How about your kids? What kinds of art supplies do you keep on hand for them?