Voices for Any Given Child Indy: Meaningful Content + Enriching Experiences = Lifelong Learners

Heather Boelke, Eliza Blaker Elementary School Art Teacher

Any Given Child Indy provided an invaluable opportunity to advance my understanding and implementation of arts integration by sending me to the Kennedy Center’s Annual  Arts Integration Conference. The resources provided throughout the experience included tools and strategies to engage students, their families, and the community in a rounded arts and academic curriculum. I learned from experts in education and networked with peers from across the country, establishing foundations for instruction with clear understanding of arts integration defined.

Most impactful to my own experience is the understanding that arts integration is a strategy for teaching which makes education more equitable for all students. We serve a diverse student population, each child having a unique set of needs. With arts integration practices in place in the classroom, students will learn by engaging in creative processes. They will develop skills in communication through varying aptitudes and reflect meaningfully on content and learning processes. Arts integration serves as an avenue to incorporating necessary 21st century skills in classroom instruction.

Among the many strategies shared during the conference, we closed by creating 6 Word Stories about our experiences. My acquired understanding of arts integration and its value to our students is as follows.

Meaningful content + enriching experiences = LIFELONG LEARNERS

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Voices for Any Given Child Indy: “THIS I BELIEVE!”

Acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow hosted the 1950s CBS Radio program This I Believe. It featured compelling essays from noted individuals such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and ordinary folks from all walks of life…like you and me.

When NPR revived This I Believe in 2004, I was an avid listener. This I Believe, Inc. engaged youth and adults in writing and sharing brief essays about their core values. This I Believe essays became part of educational curricula internationally with guidance and resources available from thisiblieve.org. Collections of essays remain available through publications and podcasts.

You probably guess where I am going with my brief summation of this powerful initiative. I believe in the power of the arts through arts education. 

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Voices for Any Given Child Indy: Challenging Times and Arts Education

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Brenda Johnston, Any Given Child Indy Creative Engagement Committee Member and Arts Administration Professor at Butler University

Our world faces many challenges today—more than any other time in history. Many of us grapple with these challenges. How can we address them?

What are the answers that will help us overcome them?

These challenges, from climate change to food security, homelessness to cross-cultural relations and everything in between, need new, unique, and yet-to-be-imagined answers.

How do we begin to discover and determine these answers?

My answers to that question are arts education and arts integrated education.

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Voices for Any Given Child Indy: The Arts Give Students a Voice

Shannon Lauffer Any Given Child Indy Creative Engagement Committee Member Art Teacher, William McKinkley School 39

Shannon Lauffer
Any Given Child Indy Creative Engagement Committee Member and Art Teacher, William McKinkley School 39

Any Given Child Indy will give my students a voice. Art sparks a light in children, and allows them to celebrate their individuality while they embrace differences. This unites us in a common language. Art lets students take risks, come to different answers to the same problem, embrace innovation, and view the world through the eyes of others. Our children will build, create, express, and connect skills that will enhance their future both personally and professionally. Any Given Child Indy will bring this opportunity to our students through a united and diverse endeavor of the arts.

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Voices for Any Given Child Indy: Why It’s Important to Support Any Given Teacher Through Any Given Child Indy

Donna Rund Arts Education Manager, Butler Arts Center Any Given Child Indy Professional Development Committee Member

Donna Rund
Arts Education Manager, Butler Arts Center
Any Given Child Indy Professional Development Committee Member

Just as any student in the classroom will thrive and succeed when the environment for learning is safe and supported, any teacher who works with students will also thrive and succeed in the “art of teaching” when the environment is safe and supported. Teachers hone their craft to educate students through supportive, thoughtful, and engaging professional development. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (The Kennedy Center) has this belief and has been committed to creating and sharing high-quality resources and professional development opportunities to teachers for over 25 years. Two of The Kennedy Center’s National Partnerships programs–Partners in Education and Any Given Child–support arts education practice through professional learning, technical support, and resources for its national networks.

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