Art helps to focus the mind

Foundation initiative, ArtsSmarts, was featured in the Montreal Gazette on April 18. The article highlighted the programs ability to help kids focus and think creatively by bringing artists into the classroom.
“The projects use creative inquiry – asking big questions and combining arts and other subjects to look at those questions, Adair said.
An ArtsSmarts project at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Longueuil focused on developing a 21st-century classroom that would suit students’ learning styles. At Bancroft, the big question has revolved around who the students, as individuals, are in their universe and as part of their cultural identity, said principal Dorothy Ostrowicz.
More than a third of the class has learning difficulties. Ostrowicz calls it amazing to walk into the room knowing the students’ struggles and see their focus and high level of teamwork and involvement in the task. “They don’t want to go out for recess. That’s how much they’re enjoying it,” Ostrowicz said.
Julie Hobbs said she noticed a “real engagement” among students involved in ArtsSmarts when she volunteered the year after she retired from her senior post at Riverside School Board and started going into the board’s classrooms. “Teachers basically said I don’t have any more behaviour problems,” said Hobbs, who is co-ordinating the ArtsSmarts research project for the Association of Directors General of English School Boards of Quebec.”

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