We begin our fifth year of participation in the Cleveland Clinic’s EXPLORERS program this January. For those who are unfamiliar with the program, let me summarize it:
*This is a totally free program offered through the Cleveland Clinic’s Office of Civic Education Initiatives. I attend an interested teacher workshop.
*I ask the homeroom teachers to choose a health topic that would be appropriate for their particular grade level.
*Students are asked to complete a pre-test on the chosen topic.
*Healthcare professionals speak for one hour with the children on the chosen topic.
*Between mid-January and early March, S. Kathleen works with the children during their art times to develop and translate the messages the children found important from the material presented. A wide variety of materials and approaches are used.
*Children are encouraged to work either alone or with a partner to create some form of artistic expression having to do with what they learned.
*These images are sent in to the Cleveland Clinic in March and are judged by an independent panel of judges. It is blind-judged, with no one knowing who the artist is or what school he or she attends.
*60 top winners are chosen and those pieces are prepared for display at the Great Lakes Science Center from mid-May through Labor Day. Last year we had ¼ of all the top prizes!
*Winning entrants receive cash prizes, have their art pieces photographed and assembled in a booklet and get to attend the opening reception at the Great Lakes Science Center with their family and friends.
*All of this, in addition to the boost to their self-esteem and the pride that comes from knowing that they have achieved something special.
Julie Billiart School has been well-represented. Last year, 28 of our children, representing 15 projects, won top honors…far more than any other school which participated.
We continue to be proud of our children and their ability to use their artistic abilities to translate these topics.
This year (2013) the teachers have chosen the following topics:
3-4: Mental Health
I look forward to some wonderful and creative efforts from our children. I’ll keep you posted.
Sister Kathleen, SLW
JB Art Therapist