“The heart of education is the relationship between the student and the teacher. Everything else depends on how productive and successful that relationship is.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson in Creative Schools.
We’ve always known how important the connection between a child and his teacher is. Each of us can name and recall in vivid detail, a brilliant mentor with whom we’ve studied. And typically that teacher was riveted by her deepest passion, which became central to her teaching. The first memorable teacher I encountered was Miss Farrell, a second grade wonder, who loved horses and horse racing. She explained right off that we’d be working in groups to propel 1 of 4 horses down the track, which sat majestically on her desk. All that we accomplished was interconnected and thereby linked to helping our designated horse make it closer to the finish line.
Five mentor artists are at the heart of LEAPS of IMAGINATION. Each of us brings her personal passion to the group. In the 4 weeks/32 hours we spend in classrooms, we know each student’s interests (e.g. birds, trucks, boats,) and how each deals with the successes and struggles of getting an idea onto paper. Personalizing (not individualizing) education is what makes learning real for kids. Focusing on what fascinates kids while striking a balance between teaching strategies and skills empowers learners to believe in themselves and ultimately their capacities for generating powerful new ideas. Ken Robinson reminds us to: Recognize that intelligence is diverse and multifaceted, adapt to the rates at which students learn, and assess to support positive learner outcomes.
At LEAPS of IMAGINATION we’re convinced that building a working team of teachers and (new on the scene) mentor artists gives even more brawn to our program.
As full collaborators, classroom teachers have helped LEAPS focus on relationships. Teachers are invested in their own art and model the processes we expect children to engage in. It has been exciting to see them generate new project plans and weave their energy into our shared tapestry.
Open relationships among teammates, mentors and their students lead to profound outcomes. In our case it was a formal exhibition of children’s art at Jonathan Frost Gallery in Rockland. Kids were ecstatic when they viewed their work on display and were keen to share the ways in which they conceived of their ideas with parents and peers.
We are fortunate to be explorers in the company of true adventurers!
Nancy Harris Frohlich
Veteran Teachers, Mrs. Bassett and Mrs. Brewster