It may be the beginning of February, but in many ways it feels as though winter never really came; it’s already starting to look a lot like Spring. Whether winter will return or skip a year, we’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way. Because at Today’s Family, we believe that when it comes to planning out our exciting programs that there is no time like the present! That’s why many of our School-Age program staff met with staff from the Culture for Kids in the Arts recently to discuss this spring’s art programming.
Every year, the children in our school age programs have enjoyed the programming of Culture for Kids in the Arts (CKA). CKA is a charitable organization affiliated with the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts, and their mission is to bring arts education opportunities to children and youth.
Despite having philosophies and teaching methods that mesh very well, partnerships like the one between CKA and Today’s Family do not happen on their own; they are the result of the effort of members of both organizations. This is a behind-the-scenes look into how Today’s Family plan our programs. Sit tight!
The first step is to talk about pedagogical strategies both parties want to use in the program. “Pedagogy” simply means “teaching styles.” In this case, we discussed how we would document the children’s learning over the course of the program.
We introduced the staff of CKA to the documentation style of “Listen, Record, and Share” that we use across all of our programs. If you have been reading our recent Centre Stories, you know all about Listen, Record, and Share. Led by Melissa Stenhouse (pictured standing), our staff also introduced the idea of “What? So what? And Now What?” which is a strategy used to assess and foster opportunities for further learning. It involves asking children about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what does it mean to them.
We broke off into small groups to discuss how to use these strategies before coming back together to share our thoughts. We value this method of discussion because it encourages more participation from everyone!
We then talked about the theme for the art program. This year’s theme is based around the story of The Great Kapok Tree, by Lynne Cherry. It’s the story of a lumberjack who wants to cut down a tree in the rainforest, and the various animals who ask him not to. The Great Kapok Tree was chosen for being incredibly relevant in the world today and its ability to spur conversations about climate change and the environment with our children.
The CKA staff had thought of some activities that would fit the theme of The Great Kapok Tree, which they shared with our staff. Our staff offered some thoughtful and constructive feedback on the activities so they would better fit into our programs.
We are earnest believers in the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child.” Culture for Kids in the Arts is a valuable member of our village, and we are very happy to be able to work with them. We hope you have a better understanding now of all of the incredible work that goes into building these partnerships and programs. It really does take a village!