Teaching Kids Core Values and Virtues with Art
Knowledge-First Empowerment Center Director James Allen shown with students and their jewelry projects.
As a volunteer in July 2009, I taught jewelry making to a group of young people ages six through fourteen at the community-based Knowledge-First Empowerment Center in Houston, Texas. The director of Knowledge-First, Inc., Mr. James Allen, had seen samples of my artwork and asked me to become involved in the Empowerment Center's Summer Camp. We wanted to provide activities for the children that would not only be fun, but would also teach core values and virtues through the Arts.
Teaching artist Jan Harasim is shown with a few of her students displaying their jewelry making projects completed in July 2009.
Two or three days a week I spent several hours demonstrating and helping students make their own colorful polymer clay beads through a step-by-step technique, emphasizing to them the importance of patience and perseverance throughout the process. I prompted them to design and plan their projects on paper, condition the polymer clay through a pasta machine, roll and shape the beads, make holes in the beads, bake the beads in a specialized oven, count the beads, and pattern the designs. With a little help, they were able to attach clasps and string the beads to make necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. We also used store-purchased materials, mixing and matching into designs of their choosing. One project led to another and by the end of the month, we had a sizable collection of art. When the jewelry was finished, I taught the children how to fold decorated cardstock paper (Origami style) into presentation gift boxes. To teach business marketing, I made "business cards" for each child to hand out to family and friends. They showed great pride in their work.
Kevin proudly displays a necklace and earring set he made for his mother's birthday.
Students proudly wore their own jewelry, gave some of their work to their parents as gifts, and put some pieces on display at the empowerment center. One enterprising boy even sold a set to one of his mother's friends for a sum of money that he was very pleased to have earned for himself. Another boy made a necklace and earring set to give to his mother for her birthday. Teaching skills in jewelry making and sharing my art with children who were happily engaged in the process gave me great personal satisfaction. I loved passing on to them something that had given me great pleasure in my own life and had served as a small business enterprise for me. At the end of my time spent with them, it was evident that the children had learned some valuable life lessons as they spent their summer vacations having fun.blog comments powered by Disqus