WMU News

Scotts Elementary and WMU students learn together

Jan. 5, 2004

KALAMAZOO--A new partnership between Western Michigan University's art education program and Scotts (Mich.) Elementary School is paying early dividends for the students of both schools.

Through the collaboration, which began one year ago, art education students from WMU are getting needed opportunities to teach in real classroom settings and to practice new art lessons and teaching skills. Since Scotts does not have an elementary art teacher, the WMU students are filling a real need and making a valued contribution to the educational experiences of the elementary students.

"Art is a valuable way for all children to express themselves, and for some children, it will be one the more meaningful and effective forms of self-expression," says Scotts Elementary Principal Jan Lee. "Art provides an area where children, who might be struggling in other classes, can enjoy success, and that is enormously valuable in building a positive learning experience.

"We have been more than pleased with the contributions of the Western students in our school and are grateful for this partnership," says Lee.

WMU students plan, prepare and teach over six-week periods, starting with simple concepts like color, texture and space and moving on to more complex work.

"Using a combination of discovery- and discipline-based art teaching methods, our students are able to address some of the content standards for visual arts in a developmentally appropriate way," says Dr. Candice J. Schilz, WMU assistant professor of art and head of the art education program. "The collaboration with Scotts Elementary also gives our students real day-to-day experience in cooperating with the regular classroom teachers, so that the art lessons can better complement what's being taught in the rest of the child's classes."

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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