May 12th, 2015
Because of today's digital devices, we virtually always have the most current information at our fingertips. In such an age, one could question the need for books. Others, such as those at ArtsCalibre Academy, see books as an essential teaching tool.
"When I hold a book and read it to my class, it creates a sense of intimacy with my students," says Director and Founder Sandra Walton. "The students sit close leaning in to see the pictures, to create stories that are not in the words I am reading."
The imagination that is sparked by books is one reason why ArtsCalibre hosted an evening Gala and Family Fun Day in late April to raise money to build their library. When people think of "The Arts", creative writing may not be the first thing they think of. Stories are what connect people, engaging them in their learning as they make connections to their own lives, morals and values. Stories are usually the backbone to music, paintings, and theatre.
ArtsCalibre Academy, a small independent school that teaches children ages 3-12, uses creativity to inspire leadership in children. "When we told the kids we were thinking of raising some money for the library, they took it into their own hands," says Walton. "We gave them some class time to work on the goods they made to sell, but for the most part, a lot of the work was done on their own time."
The two events raised $5000 for the library. At Family Fun Day at Cedar Hill Rec Centre, grades 1-4 students sold art, baking, glitter tattoos and other crafts, raising over $800. The day also had "experience stations" where people could make addition flowers, blow up a balloon without using their mouth, get messy at the splatter paint station and enjoy music and dancing!
"Kiva was so excited about the Family Day," reflects Paulina Delano, an ArtsCalibre parent. "At the end of it, she told me it was the best day of her life!"
The kids running the stations also surprised parents. Volunteer Michele Hibbins was very surprised that many of the kids stayed at their booths for the full four hours. "We expected them to only last an hour and a bit before wanting to participate in the rest of the activities."
How do you get 7-10 year olds so focused for such a long time? That's the magic behind ArtsCalibre.
"We believe that children, when given the right tools, can be community leaders regardless of age," notes Walton. "We fill their craving for discovery and our activities inspire creativity, curiosity and self discovery."
The kids still have some exciting activities ahead of them before the end of June, both events at their campus at 2121 Cedar Hill X Road. They will be running guest tours of their school at the Open House on May 21 from 4:30-6:00 pm. Their annual show "ArtsCalibre's Own: Madagascar the Musical" will be playing June 2nd & 3rd.
Unleashing that individual creativity, which helps to teach critical thinking, all connecting back to literature. The topic of the book rarely matters as long as the child connects to the story. Leadership in children is needed because they will grow up in the most vulnerable time in human history. Economic, environmental and social systems are failing and our children will need out of the box thinking to fix systemic problems. Walton jokes, "for the key to that, we go by the book."
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