Valencia, CA (March 4, 2019) - Years of research have established the importance of arts education in a child’s life. Arts programs in primary schools are proven to increase spatial reasoning, improve reading comprehension, and promote collaborative thinking. However, in California, only 38% percent of students receive arts instruction. Recognizing the benefits of arts education, parents in the PTA at Bridgeport Elementary School in Valencia, California took action—and asked CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) to create and implement an arts curriculum for their school.
A project of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), CAP has offered free after-school and school-based arts programs for youth at public schools, community centers and social service agencies throughout Los Angeles County. After seeing the success of CAP’s long-running classroom-based arts program at neighboring West Creek Academy, parents at Bridgeport decided to enlist CAP to help their own children.
At Bridgeport, CAP now offers comprehensive arts education beginning with movement and rhythm classes for Pre-Kindergarteners, with subsequent grades learning Hip Hop dance, audio production, stage acting, African Drumming, and Musical Theater.
CAP brings the expertise of CalArts faculty, alumni, and students who have undergone extensive training to deliver comprehensive, culturally diverse visual and performing arts curriculum.
The insistence and involvement of parents has had a significant impact on the arts program. “Bridgeport was looking for a program that offers students an experience different from what they might typically get during their school curriculum,” says Lisa Sawyer, President of Bridgeport PTA, “Having teacher workshops, parent workshops, as well as family nights and the CAP workshops was a great way to extend the learning beyond the 6-8 week sessions we had on campus. We were also looking for programs that would easily loop into the extra-curricular classes at the junior high and high school levels.”
Parents have the opportunity to see their child’s work showcased in a series of family nights, as well as a larger presentation at the end of the term that culminates the body of work created by the students. These nights are designed to be interactive, as parents will participate alongside their children in their art demonstrations.
CAP Program Manager and CalArts alum James Waterman designed and facilitates the arts programs at Bridgeport, and other Santa Clarita area schools, through the Saugus Union District. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance and Instrumental Music Education from The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, and a California Single-Subject Teaching Credential.