The Herald-Times

Fairview Elementary to expand artful learning to preschoolers

Ivy Tech Community College partners with school to provide arts instructors

By April Toler
331-4353 |
January 29, 2013

It has been more than two years since Fairview Elementary School began introducing artful learning, a project-based model developed by the Leonard Bernstein Center, into its curriculum.

The school will soon expand artful learning to its preschool class because of a growing relationship with Ivy Tech Community College.

One visual arts instructor and one theater arts instructor from Ivy Tech will work with the students on a weekly basis.

“I am thrilled and honored to have this support from Ivy Tech to develop the arts in our preschool class,” said principal Karen Adams via email. “In addition to enhancing the arts in preschool, this project aligns perfectly with our Artful Learning Model.”

Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus was recently awarded two grants from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, one of which provides more than $11,000 to start the “Preschool Arts Infusion Program” at Fairview.

Jeffery Allen, assistant director for the Center for Lifelong Learning Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, said the idea behind the program is to bring “high quality arts” directly to the school’s lesson plan through a collaboration between a certified teacher and the artist.

“An example might be creating an original fairy tale (creative play) to explore word recognition and cooperation skills, or a painting reflecting a scientific concept, like change of the seasons,” Allen said. “The key is working together, bringing two unique and complementary skill sets to the students to increase learning.”

This school year was the first year Lynne Hall, Title 1 preschool teacher at Fairview, worked on an artful learning unit in the classroom.

By collaborating with Ivy Tech, Hall said, she hopes to expand her knowledge of artful learning strategies and provide opportunities that would not be available without Ivy Tech’s support.

“It’s going to expose (my students) to things I might not have been able to expose them to on my own,” she said. “They are going to be learning our curriculum and our standards through a different way to meet all different kinds of learners.”

The Preschool Arts Infusion Program is not the first collaboration between Ivy Tech and Fairview.

Each year, Fairview students create the college’s holiday card, which is sent to thousands of community members. And this year, Fairview kindergarten and sixth-grade students collaborated with the college for a ceramics project that will be installed on the B-Line Trail this spring.

For Allen, the collaboration has been a give-and-take relationship aimed at providing the best experience possible for students.

“Bringing the parties together to create that has been an absolute pleasure,” Allen said. “Again, the hallmark being it’s not Ivy Tech coming in saying, ‘Here’s a product we’re selling,’ but rather, ‘Here are some skills we have, here are the skills you have — let’s marry these skills and come up with something that’s unique and powerful.’ I think we really have.”

Preschooler Patrick England, left, helps Abi Oakley during an exercise to learn the sounds and appearance of letters Monday at Fairview Elementary School. Soon artful learning will be applied to some of their lessons, just as it is for older Fairview students. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times

Preschooler Patrick England, left, yells “bingo” Monday while Abi Oakley watches at Fairview Elementary School during an exercise that helps students learn the names of letters and how they sound. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times

Lynne Hall works with preschoolers on letter identification by sound and sight Monday at Fairview Elementary School. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times

Copyright: 2013

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.