These students at Alphonsus Academy and Center for the Arts learn in all of the traditional ways. They recite multiplication tables and write papers. But this year, they have been learning in non-traditional ways as well. In particular, they have used the visual arts to reinforce classroom lessons under a program led by resident artist Meltem Aktas. “If they’re learning about the Egyptians, I teach them Egyptian art,” she says.
The program has several goals, Aktas says: To teach the children through art, to teach them to love art and to help them develop their own artistic skills—which means that sometimes, the kids simply do an unrelated art project.
In addition, the school also brings in poets, writers, musicians and other performers to expose children to many forms of art. The program has proven particularly popular with the preschoolers and their parents, says Barbara Rieckhoff, principal of this Catholic school, 1439 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. Cindy Richards