The Artful Living Program

Program Overview:

The Artful Living Program is an early childhood preschool educational program that immerses students in fine arts through lessons in visual arts, literacy, music, drama, and dance for 25 weeks. Early exposure to fine arts stimulates creativity and leads to improved academic achievement. A Family Improvement component educates parents on life-readiness, and ways to reinforce fine arts in the home. The third component is research, pre-test/post-test and longitudinal. A recent study of Artful Living Program students shows significant improvement in academic achievement and attendance years later. The Program currently impacts one-thousand preschoolers weekly, and is intended to be a replicable model for other communities.

The Artful Living Program is in its eighth year of introducing children to their creative potential. The Program improves school readiness of underserved children, enhancing their creativity and academic/artistic opportunities, and brings the arts into the home for participating families, as many may not otherwise be exposed to the fine arts.

In the 2015-2016 school year, The Artful Living Program:

  • Employs 20 teaching artists
  • Provides lessons to 19 different elementary schools and facilities throughout the county
  • Provides 176 art lessons weekly over a period of 25 weeks in 72 classes
  • Cooperates with over 100 classroom teachers, aides, and administrators
  • Impacts 1,000 preschool children each week

Now in its 8th year of operation, the Artful Living Program is providing in 2015-2016:

  • 4 arts lessons weekly in 8 preschool classes in Massillon Schools
  • 3 arts lessons weekly in 18 classes in Canton City Schools
  • 2 arts lessons weekly in the 43 classes of the Stark County Integrated Preschool (SCIP) program in 10 local districts in the county
  • Two other weekly-served sites in Canton are the YWCA and the JRC Learning Center.

Eleven Stark County community and arts organizations collaborate with the Massillon Museum in the operation of the Program, including:

  • Massillon Public Library
  • Boys and Girls Club of Massillon
  • Massillon City Schools
  • Ashland University Stark Branch
  • Canton Museum of Art
  • Canton Ballet
  • Canton Symphony Orchestra
  • ArtsinStark
  • Canton City School District
  • Early Childhood Resource Center
  • Stark County Educational Service Center

Our goal is to use ALP as a template to be replicated in school districts across Ohio and beyond. The Artful Living Program is introducing children to their creative potential and is enhancing awareness of beauty and the arts they may otherwise never experience.

Everything man-made is art. Children learn that they have the ability to create something that does not already exist. Immersion in the arts enhances vision and creativity, increases academic performance, and stimulates leadership characteristics.

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
-William Butler Yeats

Program Contact:

Chris Craft,
Director, The Artful Living Program
330-833-4061
email Chris Craft

 


 


Program Summary

The Artful Living Program stimulates children to realize that they have the ability to create something that does not already exist.

  • Studies show a link between arts and leadership. Both are founded on vision and creativity.
  • The Artful Living Program was created to immerse developing minds in the fine arts to enhance vision and creativity.
  • The Program involves parents in their children’s creative and academic development.
  • The Artful Living Program provides a uniting collaboration among community organizations and the public schools.
  • The program is replicable for other school districts.

Sponsor the Artful Living Program:

Help us continue the great work we're doing in the schools!
If you have questions, contact:

Christopher Craft
Director of the Artful Living Program
330-833-4061 x 109
email Chris Craft

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Phase I: Classroom Immersion

The earlier “effective nurture” is applied, the more effective it will be. This is why the Artful Living Program chose preschoolers as its audience.

The Artful Living Program:

  • Fine arts immersion reinforces creativity over an extended period of time.
  • Arts providers’ lessons reinforce teachers’ daily lesson plans and meet state educational standards.
  • Parents receive a weekly plan of the arts classes their children will experience.
  • Lessons are taught by professionally trained artists.
  • The Program can be easily replicated in other schools.

    The pilot program in the Massillon City preschool includes daily lessons in one of these fine arts: visual arts, literature, music, or dance. The response from teachers, parents, administrators, and observers for this phase of the Program has been enthusiastic.


Phase II: Family Environment

Children spend more time at home than they do at school. In order to enhance children’s exposure to the arts, the Artful Living Program has invited families to participate in the Program outside of the school environment.

The Artful Living Program:

  • Hosts regularly scheduled family meetings.
  • Offers art classes for all children in the family.
  • Presents helpful information for parents on topics of wellness, nutrition, local social services, and more.
  • Provides art supplies to all children in the family to use at home.

This phase invites the parents to become involved in their children’s education and creativity in a non-threatening environment.

Family feedback indicates a desire to extend this phase of the Program.


Phase III: Research

The Artful Living Program:

  • Has created a tracking process for measuring achievement throughout the students’ academic careers.
  • Creates a basis for establishing standards for early childhood development.
  • Evaluates each child with nationally-recognized test: Young Children's Achievement Test (YCAT) and Teaching Creativity in Action and Movement (TCAM).
  • Engage Faculty of Ashland University for data analysis.
  • Results of the pre-test/post-test Assessment from 2012-13 demonstrated significant academic improvement in preschool children experiencing ALP when compared to preschool children not experiencing ALP, from a school system of similar demographic make-up as that of the experimental group.  Pre-test/post-test research will be repeated during school year 2016-17.
  • During 2014-15, the longitudinal study looked at Massillon fourth grade students. Data on attendance, grade-point average, and standardized test results, was collected from students impacted by ALP in preschool and compared to similar data of non-ALP students. Results proved positive in nine of twelve areas tested.


Participants:

  • Massillon Public Library
  • Boys and Girls Club of Massillon
  • Massillon City Schools
  • Ashland University Stark Branch
  • Canton Museum of Art
  • Canton Ballet
  • Canton Symphony Orchestra
  • ArtsinStark
  • Canton City School District
  • Early Childhood Resource Center
  • Stark County Educational Service Center

Advisory Board:

Maureen Ater, Gatehouse Ohio Media
Deanna Billman, Parent Representative
Mel Herncane, Boys and Girls Club of Massillon
Joyce Lemke, Educational Consultant
Kristi Muzi, Preschool Coordinator, Massillon City Schools
Tom Piccari, Arts Consultant, Stark County Educational Services Center
Robert Rohrer, Massillon City Schools (ret.)
Paul Stellar, Director, Ashland University, Massillon Branch
Vanessa Stergios, community activist
Lindsay Zimmerman, Aultman Career Academy, Former Director

Dr. Gary Zoldesy, Ashland University

Funding:

First Merit Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
The Massillon Rotary Foundation
The Charity Rotch School of Kendal Foundation
Private Donors
Wilbur Arnold Memorial Fund
The Aultman Foundation
PNC Foundation
The Peter and Judith Schurman Fund, Stark Community Foundation

Massillon Walmart
Massillon City Schools
Canton City School District

Program Contact:

Chris Craft,
Director, The Artful Living Program
330-833-4061
email Chris Craft

 

 
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