New World Kids in Connecticut

Here's the latest on our New World Kids summer programs:

TITLE: New World Kids: Creativity Workshops (Ages 5 & 6)
Venue: Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum / Ridgefield
Category: Children's
Date: 07/19/10 - 07/31/10
Time: 09:30AM h - 12:00PM h

Monday, July 19
7/19 to 7/31, Monday to Friday; 9:30 to 12 noon; plus two events for parents

The Aldrich invites a new group of young children to participate in the fourth summer of this innovative program focused on building creative thinkers, New World Kids and the Next Literacy. This summer, twelve children will explore a new way of looking at and understanding the world around them, and parents will learn about the individual strengths that will help their children to learn productively in the future. The Museum believes in the importance of developing programs that prepare young minds to learn and grow in a future that will require visual literacy and innovation. New World Kids is a program proven to engage children with the creative thinking processes, the capacity to invent with many media, the ability to think across disciplines, and the reliance on (and joy in) the imagination.

These skills are taught through what the program developer and author, Susan Marcus, calls The Sensory Alphabet: the building blocks of creative literacy. Just as basic as the traditional alphabet used in teaching the traditional literacies of reading and writing, it is the basis of our sensory connection to the world—line, color, texture, movement, sound, rhythm, space, light, and shape. The Sensory Alphabet will multiply a child’s early repertoire of ways to symbolize, understand, and communicate ideas. Each day children will explore an element of The Sensory Alphabet by collecting ideas, engaging in open-ended activities, reflecting on their work, and hearing from people in the community about what it is like to think and work the way they do. It is our intention that each child will attain a sense of “I can do that!” at some point in the program. The involvement of parents is a key aspect of New World Kids. Prior to its start, Aldrich educators will meet with parents to discuss the cognitive research that went into the design of the program and to learn about some of the individual characteristics of each child. At the end of the program, the educators will organize an informal exhibition, which will include the children’s work and documentation of both the children’s and teachers’ reflections on their creative strengths. The process of preparing for the exhibition and talking about it with family will give each child an important opportunity to reflect on his/her individual choices and strengths, and will give parents an insight into the natural abilities of their children. Parents are also invited to purchase a New World Kids 2009 yearbook, available in the fall, as a tool to engage children about their experiences.

This year Susan is adding an "alumni" course for older kids called Think Like a Pro. Here's what she'll be doing. I'm heading to Connecticut for the last week to help with the production and technology.

With July ushering itself in at the end of the week, I am writing to touch base with you all about Think Like a Pro, the next step in the New World Kids path to creative literacy. I am thrilled that we have 12 of our New World Kids returning, representing all three summers that we have offered the program.

As you know, Think Like a Pro begins on July 19 and runs Monday through Friday from 1:30 - 4:00 PM. On Saturday July 31 at 1:00 PM, families are invited to the Museum for a presentation of the students' work and a celebration of each child's contribution.

In Think Like  a Pro, we will focus on helping the children become aware of their own individual constellation of strengths, by experiencing various thinking processes and reflecting on them. They will again work with adult professionals, who will model their own way of thinking, introduce new digital media,  and coach the kids through a creative project. Students will explore the qualities of thinking used in the 2-D realm with graphics and patterns, 3-D thinkers who are makers and builders, the kinetic sensibility involving sound and movement, and the social sensibility relating to people, groups, cultures, and roles. Throughout the weeks, they will experiment with different ways to record and present all of the new information they gather. It is our goal that by the end of the program, the kids will not only participate in many new experiences, but go the next step in being able to reflect on their own thinking and learning.