How students and teachers are impacted, volunteers’ gushing opinions, and how your donations make it all possible.

Wondering how our Creative Kindergarten Connections programming is going? It couldn’t be better! This year’s evaluation results painted a colorful picture of how the program is enjoyed by students, teachers, volunteers and principals. Results have shown overall growth in students’ creativity, improvement in self-governing behaviors that positively impact reading by 3rd grade and accelerated learning of art skills. The students and teachers who participated in the programming related many endearing stories of the positive learning and teaching environments created during AWaH; demonstrating the value of having in-school-day art programming in our Indianapolis schoolsCKC pic.

We were really pleased to know that we avoided ‘initiative fatigue’ among teachers and instead received so much positive feedback from teachers who had completed two years of the program.  Although teachers acknowledged the extra work, they clearly recognized that they grew as teachers and had confidence in the success of their students.  One teacher participating in the program for the second year said, “It allows me to do what I enjoy most about teaching…watching students learn while being creative.” Another teacher told us, “This program allows me to teach the way I was trained to teach and I can see the positive effects with the students.”

Participating students were also interviewed at the beginning of the program and again at the end, and those results showed evident growth in students’ articulated responses when asked, “What do you see around you that makes you think of AWaH lessons?” and “Pick a picture that you made during AWaH and tell me how you made it. What did you learn?” Most students answered in the “Advancing” category with an average 30% increase by the end of the program. The best part is not just knowing that the CKC program is making positive impacts, but knowing that the children are actually enjoying the program and ultimately enjoying to learn through it. After just 2 weeks of programming, a student wrote during the writing center that his favorite thing about school already was…Art With a Heart!

We interviewed 27 of our volunteers, and nearly all of them reported having a highly positive experience within the program. 100% of these volunteers felt that their role was important to the program and that the children also enjoyed participating in AWaH. The best feedback we received was that 26 of the 27 volunteers we interviewed indicated their interest to continue volunteering for us! One volunteer told us, “From the time I started with the kids to the end of the year, I saw a huge change in them. It’s nice to have a hand in that. The students’ pictures got better and their behaviors improved. It always feels good when they’re so happy to see you and don’t want you to go.”

22208511970_7cbd45dd81_kSo why does all of this matter? It matters because a wealth of research shows that students with high levels of engagement in the arts also have better outcomes in life from careers to community involvement. It matters because CEOs and hiring managers consistently cite creativity, problem identification and problem-solving as highly valued skills in new hires. It matters because positive self-expression is a vital skill in the development of a well-balanced child.

Inspired by the results of our first two years of programming, we have a new goal: over the next five years we plan to roll out matching curricula in Pre-K through 3rd grade to further reinforce the positive benefits that we have already seen from our Creative Kindergarten Connections programming and for more long-term impact. Help us to help our children become happy and successful students by sharing our story with friends and colleagues, and please consider making a contribution this holiday season to support Creative Kindergarten Connections – thank you!

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