Cardiff children tap into the arts
April 22, 2014
Program manager for Point in Time Centre for Children, Youth and Parents, Dan Bajorek, presents Cardiff Elementary School’s vice-principal Barb Davies with the school’s very own full-sized puppet named Zach on Thursday, April 17 at Cardiff Elementary School in Cardiff.
From left, Shane Musclow, Dakota Desousa and Owen Burke, and their puppets (all named Joe) perform their show titled The Artist’s Problem on Thursday, April 17 at Cardiff Elementary School in Cardiff. Their performance was part of the Haliburton Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools program.
By Nate Smelle Since it began in 2004 the Haliburton Highlands Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools program has been teaching children to be more imaginative and creative individuals through embracing the arts. Participating in the program are ceramic artists, puppeteers, actors, musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors, print-markers, percussionists, jewellers, storytellers, artist blacksmiths, glass blowers, and fabric artists. Over the last five weeks chief executive puppeteer and workshop facilitator for Puppeteria, Shelley King has been sharing her creativity and expertise with students and teachers at Cardiff Elementary School (CES).
“The puppets really bring the kids out of their shells,” said King. “Some of the children who are more shy than the others especially benefit from working with them. They also help children with autism interact with the other students better socially. It is magic watching their imaginations start to work when they pick up their puppets.” King has not only been teaching kids how to be more socially engaged with one another through the arts, she has also been showing the children how to make their own puppets. Constructing them out of materials donated by the arts council, the kids are encouraged to give each of their puppets its own name and personality. “The puppets allow them the chance to speak their minds more freely,” said King. “The children really took to the program, connecting to each other on many different levels. It teaches them to communicate and express themselves, which builds social skills. This makes learning more effective and fun. We are starting to even see them used now with seniors coping with dementia.”
The Point in Time Centre for Children, Youth and Parents has also been working with the program at CES. Point in Time offers a wide range of supports and services to children, youth and families throughout Haliburton County. These services include: family support, mental health services and youth justice. On Thursday, April 17 program manager for Point in Time, Dan Bajorek, presented the students with the school’s very own full-sized puppet named Zach. Realizing how beneficial the puppets have been for the kids at CES, Point in Time donated the professional-quality puppet valued at nearly $1,000.
“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to this program,” said Bajorek.
“We go where the need is and we customize our approach to helping each individual child. It is amazing to see the difference the puppets made with the kids.”
Vice-principal Barb Davies said the Artists in the Schools program improves learning opportunities for the students and the teachers. She said both the staff and the students really appreciates the skills, knowledge and techniques that the artists share with the school.
“Our local artists are so talented and professional,” said Davies.
“They are the experts in the field of the arts. The artists address the arts curriculum for a variety of grades. They even have a unique way of integrating other subject areas into their art lessons. Students and teachers both learn from this program. Another benefit of the Artists in the Schools program is that it builds a great relationship between the school and the community.”
Cardiff Elememtary School students show off their new homemade puppets on Thursday, April 17 at Cardiff Elementary School in Cardiff. They created the puppets with help from puppeteer Shelley King, seen far right, as part of the Haliburton Arts Council’s Artists in the Schools program.