It’s that time of year again. As we head into our local Target or Walmart, we will be bombarded with school supply sales. The new school year is right around the corner and most parents are thankful for that. Now is the time to start preparation for the new year and strategizing for the upcoming milestones for our youth. One of those milestones is finding a way to nurture a young students talent and channel their energy into a positive direction. Luckily, parents are not alone in this overwhelming challenge. Involving children in a mentor program is an excellent way to provide extra guidance and direction for kids.
Creative students in San Diego now have new support in the classroom through a program called The Teaching Artist Institute. According to Jennifer Oliver, Education Director of Young Audiences San Diego, it is “a comprehensive, 20-week opportunity, which includes access to quality instruction from curriculum specialists renowned in their field, one-on-one coaching with mentor teaching artists and practical teaching experience in the classroom”. The program is meant to help professional artists become teaching artists in an effort to support art programs in schools. The goal is to expand this program to K-12 schools. It is set to start August 7 and offers full or partial scholarships to “practicing artists”.
The program is supported by Young Audiences of San Diego, a nonprofit organization that supports the arts locally. They offer student workshops and professional development programs that involve children in the creative process with a professional artist. The workshops are 45 minutes to 1 hour with an artist-student ratio of 1 to 30. Field trips for children to a professional theatre are also available with study guides provided. Currently, Young Audiences has a program that brings classical music instruction to the classroom called Scholar’s Music Project Programs and has provided music instruction to over 200 underserved students.
Creative mentoring is an effective way to provide extra support to youth by increasing self confidence and improving relationships with peers and adults. In a statewide study done by another program that offers the same services, 96% of parents saw an improvement in their child through creative mentoring and 96% of mentors saw an improvement in their mentees. While out shopping for the new school year outfits and backpacks, consider investing in nurturing your child’s talents through a local mentoring program.