Target Funds Arts Guild New Jersey’s Pre-K Education Program

RAHWAY — Arts Guild New Jersey recently received a $2,000 grant from Target for its Pre-K Art Education Program which will provide weekly art instruction to 200 Pre-K students ages 4 and 5 at the four elementary schools of the Rahway Public School District during the 2012/13 school year.

Art education is a long-term goal of Arts Guild New Jersey. The Pre-K Art Education Program initiative fills an important need since art education is lacking in the curriculum of the Pre-K program offered by the local public school district, according to the organization.

The goal of the program is to provide art instruction to young children in a classroom environment, with the aim of helping them develop an interest in their creative abilities through hands-on projects. This program is designed to interface with the students’ academic program, to reinforce other areas of study, such as learning basic shapes and colors, to help build a basic working vocabulary of art terms and to introduce a variety of art-making techniques. Projects include drawing, painting, sculpture/modeling, watercolor, and printmaking. Children use pencil, paint, colored papers, markers, colored pencils, watercolor, modeling compounds and several other traditional art-making materials.

The Arts Guild has provided this program to the Rahway Public School District since spring of 2007 when it began as an eight-week pilot program in two Rahway public elementary schools serving approximately 70 students. In each year since 2007, Arts Guild New Jersey has provided up to 20 weeks of weekly art lessons to the Pre-K students in the Rahway public schools at no cost to the children or the school district. The program has been funded by several sources to whom the Arts Guild applied for necessary funds to offer this exciting program in Rahway. In addition, through meetings with the public school district coordinator for the Pre-K education program and with the Pre-K academic teachers in the school district, we have developed a much clearer idea of their classroom teaching structure and a format that will allow the program to focus on the individual needs of each student while encouraging controlled interaction among students.

Approximately 180-200 children (ages 4 and 5) are expected to be enrolled in the Rahway Pre-K Education Program in the 2012-2013 school year who will benefit from the art instruction we offer. Children who receive art instruction have been documented through formal national studies to increase or improve their learning abilities in traditional areas of academic instruction/education (particularly math and language arts). Art instruction develops creative thinking skills, helps build self-esteem and provides a framework for tolerance of diversity and other cultures through the hands-on study of art-making principles and exposure to the art of other lands and people.

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