Not long ago LEAPS of IMAGINATION was nothing more than a “figment of my imagination.” But now, thanks to local public school funding from Maine’s RSU 13 and private donations, a team of four mentor artists and I have launched the dream.
We believe that all children are imaginative thinkers, and that if we give them the opportunity to use their imaginations in school by making Art, they will benefit in an infinite number of ways. On the first day of the four week project, we asked them, “What is imagination ?”
- “It pops into your head like a dream!
- “It’s when you imagine something and you can’t do it. And then you can do it, in your imagination!”
- “You’re imagining what it is going to look like in your mind.”
- “Imagining is when you think of something you want to do – whether it is real or not.”
- “You have to imagine it before it can happen.”
LEAPS of IMAGINATION is happening in a community where children have limited Art, and we are committed to giving them more. It was important to us that the Art making process take place in a meaningful context for children. That was identified by second grade teachers, Terri Bassett and Teresa Brewster, who have been part of the planning team from the outset. Interweaving Art and a study of folktales with social justice themes, their children have been experimenting with and transforming materials and solving problems for 2 1/2 weeks so far.
This program has more than whet the imagnations of the young; it has inspired the artists, the principal, and the teachers – all young at heart. LEAPS of IMAGINATION has helped us all to develop new connections. Week after week, kids are building upon their ideas, testing out their theories, and adding new elements to their initial visions. The skills children learn in one session, they apply in the next. The themes that have emerged from Ashley Bryan’s Beautiful Blackbird and The Gigantic Turnip, crop up in daily conversation.
You are the best ~
Nancy Harris Frohlich
Here’s to the Artists: Alexis Iammarino, Sandy Weisman, Susan Beebe, and Sarah Rogers