Friday, May 19, 2017

From School Days to Evenings: Engaging Parents in their Children’s Art Learning

by Marlena I., ARCK's Development & Marketing Assistant

ARCK’s Financial Literacy Through Art workshop, piloted on May 16th, marked the first of hopefully many workshops we will offer to the parents of our students this upcoming year who are English language learners. This component of our programming aims to engage parents in their children’s school lives and to extend the therapeutic benefits of art into their lives as well as their kids’.

ARCK has partnered with the Adult Education Program at Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA) in Allston, one of the Boston public schools in which we offer our core arts integration program for K-8 students. The Adult Education Program offers evening English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes along with childcare, free of charge to participants. To reach our students' parents in this wonderful program as well as other adult ESOL learners, we are planning a series of Literacy Through Art workshops. Since the Adult Education Program’s ESOL curriculum is theme-based, geared toward teaching students English skills and areas of knowledge relevant to their daily lives, each of ARCK’s Literacy Through Art workshops will align with some of these themes, including personal financial literacy.

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This past Tuesday evening, around 18 GPA parents from various levels of ESOL classes participated in a hands-on, arts-integrated lesson on using checks. We were fortunate enough to have the help of Rick and Spencer, representatives from Commerce Bank, who taught students how to properly write a check, record checks in a check register, and balance a checkbook.  

Photo May 16, 7 14 02 PM.jpg 

At the beginning, ARCK teaching artist Will asked, “Who here has a bank account?” Most students raised their hands.

“Who has written a check before?” Most students had not.

The second half of the workshop was an art activity; students designed their own checkbooks using an array of materials including tissue paper, feathers, colored pencils, and stencils.

Photo May 16, 8 01 10 PM.jpg           Photo May 16, 7 45 35 PM.jpg
  

Students were given the opportunity to think about how they might incorporate their own identities into their artwork. A single father of four, originally from El Salvador, shared images of tecomates (gourds used for carrying drinking water) that he said could serve as a point of connection between immigrants from similar backgrounds.

The class also gave parents the opportunity to speak to us, ARCK staff, and ask questions about the program.

Overall, they were excited to exercise their creativity, de-stress, and learn about personal finance -- all through art!

Photo May 16, 8 08 13 PM.jpg         Photo May 16, 7 54 50 PM.jpg


We thank Commerce Bank for lending their expertise to the financial literacy lesson and for their generous sponsorship. We thank Michelle Duval from GPA’s Adult Education Program for helping coordinate our partnership.