On the Lives and Education of Children
Edited By Paul L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie A. Gorlewski and Brad J. Porfilio
Chapter Nine: Love, Learning, and the Arts
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Love, Learning, AND THE Arts
JANE E. DALTON
“The arts, it is said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings, who might change the world.”
In a small school nestled in the mountains of Appalachia, a second-grade classroom began every day with a short centering. Children gathered in a circle on the floor, sitting quietly and settling in for the day ahead. The change in children’s energy from the busyness of arriving at school, hanging up coats, dropping book bags on the floor, and entering the classroom easily transitioned to silence and stillness. The morning centering was a key part of the day and prepared students by gathering them together in a focused community practice.
On one such morning, I led students in a guided visualization to the center of their hearts to explore what existed in this interior space. Children were gently guided to see a door that led to the interior of their hearts. Once inside, they were directed to look around and see what lived in this repository: emotions, sensations, or an experience of a time when they felt loving or loved. After a brief period, these children were asked to gently open their eyes and move silently toward the art materials in front of them. Using white paper and colored markers, students were instructed to illustrate their experience. Revelatory and insightful, each...
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