This column features Parents of Valor who make the world around them a better place. I have the happy job of finding them, telling you about them, and collecting online information and resources so that we can draw on their example when we turn to our own schools and communities.
This month’s parent, Genia Taub, is here to tell us about the wonderful parent-run Learning to Look program at the Solomon Schechter School of Long Island (Jericho campus).
What is Learning to Look?
Solomon Schechter School of Long Island has been teaching Art Appreciation classes for the past 9 years. We hire an art historian who trains our volunteers, parents and grandparents, three times a year in our school. Our goal is to understand and teach our children art history--artists, their techniques and paintings--in our classrooms in a fun and exciting way. Parents are interested in what goes on at their child's school and how they can help. The adults are just as stimulated and excited to learn as they are to teach. What better way to tell your child that you care about his or her education than to be a part of it yourself?
When and Where Do You Offer the Program?
Our art appreciation program an enrichment program that takes place during the course of the school year. We enter the elementary classrooms, Kindergarten through fifth grade, five times a year with a visit to a museum at the end of the year. The museum we visit exhibits the art our children learn about during the year.
Why is Learning to Look such an important program?
'Learning To Look is the name of our 'art appreciation' program. We expose our children to great works of art in a positive and enjoyable manner and believe this is the best way to ensure that our children will be art enthusiasts, museum goers, perhaps even art collectors as adults. By teaching how to look at art, we not only come to appreciate the manifold creations of the human imagination, but we also learn to view our own surroundings with the eye of an artist.
Our children have and are learning a tremendous amount of information and loving it!
Who is Involved in Learning to Look?
Our trained volunteers teach our students how to look and understand the paintings of different artists and their styles- techniques. We teach the six basic elements of any artwork: color, shapes, textures, space, light and lines. At the end of each class we engage our children with an art activity or game to reinforce the lesson.
Julie Blau and Vivi Nissan introduced Learning To Look to our school in the year 2003. Genia Taub has been running this program all these years and now co-chairs with Karen Bernstein and Sima Levy and our amazing team of Learning To Look volunteers.
How did you personally get involved in Learning to Look?
Julie Blau and Vivi Nissim learned about this art appreciation program that was being used in the Schechter School in Westchester. They were very impressed with what it had to offer our school and inquired and purchased seven curriculums to teach throughout the years. Having a passion for the arts, children and a background in teaching, I volunteered to run the program full time. I always wanted to be extremely involved in my childrens’ school and this program has been heaven sent. Years later I am still enjoying every bit of my involvement.
To Learn More:
Check out these online resources for art appreciation:
- Five Easy Ways to Add Art History to the Curriculum
- The Metropolitan Museum Kids Page
- The Benefits of Arts Education for Children
- Museum of Modern Art Educator Resources
If you have any questions about Learning to Look, please contact Michele Palter at mpalter at optonline dot net