Thanks to all of your hard work last year, our art and music programs grew too big for the play room. As a result, our Bedford-Stuyvesant school is starting the semester with brand new violin and art classes. Our current definition of enchanting: watching 30 eight-year-olds pick up a violin for the first time and be totally thrilled just to tuck them under their little chins. While we’re waiting (impatiently) to hear our first “Hot-Cross Buns” or “Twinkle, Twinkle,” Mr. Kerrick Sasaki, will (very patiently) spend two days a week teaching the basics of violin performance technique, throwing in a little music theory for good measure. If the enthusiasm from the first week is any indicator, we expect to see our musicians gracing the stage of Carnegie Hall in no time (we like to aim high here at CFK).
Meanwhile, the fifth-graders are gearing up for the trifecta of all educational experiences – self-expression, local history, and world connections. For the next 12 weeks, they’ll be honing their artistic skills and getting their hands dirty with a social studies-based art project designed by the Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA). As early as 1838– 25 years before Lincoln freed all slaves during the Civil War–a colony of free black families owned the land surrounding the school. The community was called Weeksville, after James Weeks, and at its height was home to 700 families. Today, four of the original houses are still standing only a few blocks from the school…a perfect excuse for a art/history mashup if ever we heard one.
This spring, with the help of some awesome friends at CMA, the 5th graders will be completing a multi-media project to document their incredibly historic and unique neighborhood. At CFK, we love it when we can find new and creative ways to make our students’ textbooks come to life, and what better way to learn about black history and the Civil War era than by painting, sketching, and building a model of the structures and sites that are literally in their own backyards? Their one-of-a-kind works will be on display to the public at CMA early this summer – and we’ll be first in line to check them out.