CREATE’s smARTkids™ is a free after-school program that helps level the playing field for children from low-income households by eliminating cost as a barrier to participation in quality arts programming. Using visual art techniques and art therapy principles, smARTkids’™ art-based curriculum helps elementary school students to build critical thinking skills, resilience, language and literacy skills, peer-to-peer skills, and confidence.
Begun as a pilot program in 2008, smARTkids™ has benefited over 900 children in seven Montgomery County, MD public elementary schools.
Many students who participate in smARTkids™ come from low-income and minority families and struggle with academic, emotional, behavioral, or social issues that impact their abilities to succeed in school. A majority of the students receive free or reduced price meals (FARMS) and are limited English proficient (LEP). By working directly with school counselors to identify students most likely to benefit from the program, smARTkids™ provides specialized programming to best support these students. Our efforts strengthen language and literacy skills, problem-solving, creativity and appreciation for the arts, along with increasing self-esteem and positive social skills. Our program aims to enable these vulnerable students to reach their full potential at school, at home, and in the community.
To ensure that cost is not a barrier, we offer smARTkids™ programming free of charge to students and their families. The curriculum is designed by experienced art therapists and art educators with the goal of helping students express themselves through success-oriented activities that teach literacy, critical thinking and social skills. Each class includes a healthy snack, story-time and journaling with drawing and writing and following group art instruction, students work on art projects, completing at least four throughout each 8 to 10 week session. Instructors model problem-solving and team-work, and encourage students to work with, listen to, and learn from one another.
Testimonials from parents and teachers alike demonstrate that the smARTkids™ curriculum has proven successful in motivating students and improving their attitudes towards learning, Their completed projects give them a sense of accomplishment and the group activities result in stronger peer relationships. Teachers and parents also report less disruptive behavior, increased attention span and improved school attendance.
For more information, call us at 301-588-2787 or write to us firstname.lastname@example.org.