One of the most memorable aspects of Mayor DeBlasio’s campaign is his commitment to Universal Pre K. There is little question that preschool improves a student’s educational trajectory and brings parents into the education community at the onset of their child’s education.
As an organization dedicated to infusing creativity into public education, Urban Arts Partnership looks forward to the prospect of working with children and their families to inspire learning from the onset of an education. Our commitment stems from the dream that the first moment a child encounters education it is enticing, delightful, and compelling. Our hope is that this environment motivates the grades that come after PreK, pushing to envision creative ways to bring information to students.
Rather than Universal PreK’s standards coming from what’s needed from the grade above, we want to turn that paradigm on its head- how children first learn should be the standard as they develop socially, emotionally, and academically. Children naturally approach learning artistically- experiencing, studying, creating, refining and reflecting. Urban Arts Partnership harnesses this approach in all we do. Currently, the EASE program trains teachers in arts-based strategies proven to increase engagement, creativity, and socialization skills to impact student outcomes for an inclusive community of learners. This kind of program motivates teachers, and in turn administrators, to widen their pedagogy. Getting young children “ready for school” through the arts builds artists, scientists and entrepreneurs. Implemented in PreK, this quality teacher training in turn widens the scope of what’s possible in kindergarten and can affect true change in what we teach and how we evaluate it.