Windsor, ON – The Canadian Network for Arts & Learning in partnership with Arts Can Teach has released a report detailing the results of a project integrating multicultural arts instruction into teaching core curriculum in the Windsor, Ontario – a unique community which has the highest percentage per capita of newcomers to Canada. In 2019, the two organizations received a $61,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to develop, implement and research the impact of hands-on multicultural arts activities in elementary classrooms in the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB).
“The significance of arts instruction in our schools has been long understood,” said Lisa Gretzky, MPP Windsor West. “This project explored the impact of diverse multicultural art instructors in our elementary schools and provided valuable insights for Windsor and Essex as one of the most multicultural communities in Canada. I congratulate everyone involved in this work.”
The research report reveals that 71% of participating educators in the program agreed or strongly agreed that the program engages English language learners, newcomers and Indigenous students, and 90.4% agreed or strongly agreed that the program supported student well-being.
“A student’s involvement in the arts has a profound effect on academic achievement and overall educational experience,” said Lawrence O’Farrell, Chair of The Network. “Our research showed that the lessons created throughout this project helped to remove learning barriers for students and create inclusive and supportive learning environments.”
Throughout this project, Arts Can Teach and The Canadian Network for Arts & Learning endeavored to learn how to best mentor and support artist educators from diverse multicultural backgrounds to help bring cultural arts activities into school environments. The initiative measured students' response to seeing a diversity of cultures and traditions represented in their educators and their learning by integrating visual arts, drama, and performance poetry with lessons exploring culture, heritage, identity and character.
With the seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Arts Can Teach hired and trained seven new artists from diverse backgrounds who developed 18 new lesson plans exploring culture and character. This grant helped bring Arts Can Teach to more than 225 classrooms in the GECDSB.
The project was initially expected to take 12 months but ran into delays due to the pandemic. Taking place online in Spring of 2021 - 2022, artists lessons focused on creative learning opportunities for teachers and students while being mindful of the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty in schools across the region. Multicultural arts forms have been able to contribute to the educational and mental well-being of everyone involved in the project.
For more information on the project or to read the report, please visit eduarts.ca.
The Canadian Network for Arts & Learning (The Network) unites local, regional and national arts and learning communities in a network for exchange, research and collaboration, cultivating a more creative, innovative and prosperous Canada. Founded in 2009, The Network presents a biennial national conference, publishes, gathers, and shares research studies, produces community-based networking and knowledge sharing events, and develops valuable resources and makes them easily accessible to the public. The Network’s signature asset is Canada’s Map of Arts & Learning which has more than 9000 profiles of artist-educators, arts organizations and school across Canada. For more information, please visit www.eduarts.ca.
The Arts Can Teach program was founded by Karen McClellan, who also acts as the Executive Director. This program builds on the legacy of the Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) program, created in 1994 by Angela Elster and The Royal Conservatory of Music. This ground-breaking program brought artists and teachers together in classrooms across Canada, training and transforming through arts integration. Today, with many of Windsor’s original artists and an increasing demand, Arts Can Teach continues to expand, innovate, and develop to support the region’s schools and community. For more information, please visit www.artscanteach.ca.
The Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) is the public school board of Windsor- Essex, a community that is among the most culturally diverse in Canada. The GECDSB, an outstanding champion of the arts in learning, is committed to providing enriching arts experiences for every child. The CNAL has recognized the GECDSB as a Gold Standard School Board. The GECDSB has been an integral part in the success of the Arts Can Teach program.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation: The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grantmaking in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested nearly $209M into 2,042 community projects and partnerships, which included funding for the Government of Ontario’s Community Building Fund. Visit otf.ca to learn more.
- 30 -