How my daughter schooled me on the importance of arts education
One of the things I admire the most about this country is its public education system. I live in NYC and I'm a proud parent at PS 40 and I can't say good enough things about this school. I use to hate the PTA moms who wouldn't stop talking about how amazing their kids' school was, but I have to accept the fact that I've become one of them.
As a Latina living in the US, the public education system touches me on many levels, I am grateful that my child (a legal immigrant but not a resident) is entitled to the best education and I totally support the belief that every kid in the United States deserves a quality education, regardless of their background, race, ethnicity, or immigration status.
However the rapidly changing demographics and increased attacks on public education have created a new set of challenges for minority communities and I really hope Obama will get on it--once he gets re-elected, of course--because preparing our kids to take on the world should be his first priority.
Let me put politics aside for a second and tell you one of the things I love the most about public education: Teachers. Those men and women who dedicate hours to help us raise our children, challenge and help them become the very best they can be.
Yesterday I was able to witness the labor of love of Mr. Churchill, PS 40's music teacher. As a music teacher you've got a big job in your hands, you need to inspire all these fidgeting kids, motivate them enough to stay put and teach them the amazing value in music.
I've never spent time with Mr. Churchill, all I know is that Juliana loves him and talks about how he's always happy and has a very good sense of humor. She also talks about how he applauds all their efforts and gives them positive reinforcement (of course she doesn't use this term).
The experts say music is an effective medium for learning and retaining information because it activates three different centers of the brain at the same time: language, hearing, and motor control. For all of the kids being able to perform on that school stage, it is deeply satisfying and rewarding--after all the weeks of hard work--to share this major achievement with friends and family.
It gave me goose bumps to see all these 1st and 4th grade kids singing together, all of them synchronized and connected. Their energy just filled the room. My father went to the concert with me and he was deeply impressed, he kept saying "How on earth was this teacher able to teach these kids learn the words to all of these songs"
Mr. Churchill you outdid yourself...Congratulations!
What do you think about music programs in our public school system? Do you foster the love for music at home?