Spotlight: Growing Up Great with AH Early Childhood Programs

Summer is in full swing now, and Arts Horizons is as busy as ever with the launch of our summer arts programs. We also wrapped up an extremely rewarding and productive academic year of arts education residencies with many old and new partners! Over the next month, we will be spotlighting some our grant-funded programs and early childhood programs. We kick off this series with our early childhood programs at Union Settlement and New York Public Library (NYPL) funded by PNC Bank Foundation’s Grow Up Great initiative. Started in 2004, Grow Up Great is a bilingual initiative to prepare children, particularly underserved children, from birth to age five for success in school and life. To commemorate its 15th year, PNC has invested an additional $150 million to extend the program! We are grateful for this generous grant as it has enabled us to expand our partnerships with both organizations through five early childhood theater and dance residencies at various sites in Manhattan with AH Teaching Artists Lady Rose, Navida Stein, Pat Russell, and Irene Koloseus! They include:

Lady Rose @ Countee Cullen Library (Storytelling)
Navida Stein @ Macombs Bridge & Harlem Libraries (Storytelling)

Pat Russell @ Union Washington Early Childhood Center (Circus Arts)
Irene Koloseus @ Union Johnson Early Childhood Center (Creative Movement)

Storytelling, Circus Arts, and Creative Movement are all integral components of our comprehensive arts education programs for early childhood. These highly interactive artist residencies are curriculum and standards-based to help our youngest students develop skills to participate in the arts, bolster arts literacy and creativity, and improve concentration and coordination. In addition, these programs help facilitate critical thinking skills by introducing students to the historical, social, and cultural aspects of the performing arts. The two storytelling residencies at NYPL focused on boosting literacy through interactive reading integrated with creative movement and music. Pat and Irene’s residencies at Union Settlement used techniques from dance, clowning, and theater to bolster overall motor coordination and concentration skills.

RittaBookEditedLady Rose sings & reads the ABCs at Countee Cullen Library!

Kiran recently visited Lady Rose’s storytelling program at Countee Cullen Library in Harlem. Cynthia “Lady Rose” Roberson is an accomplished singer/songwriter, published author, and a certified library media specialist for grades K-12 based in New Jersey. She introduced children to the “magic of the library” through RITTA BOOK® (Reaching Imaginations Today Tomorrow & Always with Breathtaking Objects Of Knowledge) – a novel literacy concept, mascot, and book she has created. Let’s take a quick look at her story hour!

A diverse and tightknit group of approximately 15 young children with their parents and guardians assembled on a colorful rug to participate in a high-energy and music-filled hour of storytelling with Lady Rose. A large, colorful poster with the story hour’s official mascot, a young girl named Ritta Book, served as the perfect backdrop. Lady Rose even had an adorable Ritta Book doll which captivated many of her young audience members. She began with a reading of her own book, A Journey from A to Z, which introduced many of the important features of public libraries. The highlight was her interactive reading of Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman with illustrations by Andy Elkerton.

Arts Horizons would like to thank Sue Zeigler (Children’s Librarian), and all of the staff at Countee Cullen for their incredible support and for so warmly welcoming us into their library. We would also like to express our gratitude to Karen Ayala, Shadaesha Alexander, and the staff at Union Settlement for helping our teaching artists conduct seamless residencies at Union Washington and Union Johnson. We hope to continue to grow these partnerships for years to come!

It is never too early to start planning for next year with Arts Horizons! We offer high-quality arts education programs for a wide range of age groups ranging from early childhood to senior citizens and in a variety of artistic mediums including:  Visual Arts, Dance, Theater, Music, and New Media Technology. For further information, please contact Dena Isles or Kiran Rajagopalan.

Arts Horizons
Department of NYC Residencies & Special Populations

Dena Isles, Director
NY Phone: 212.268.7219 * 108
NJ Phone: 201.567.1766 * 108

Kiran Rajagopalan, Program Coordinator
NY Phone: 212.268.7219 * 113
NJ Phone: 201.567.1766 * 113

About Arts Horizons

Arts Horizons is a premier not-for-profit arts-in-education organization that provides live professional performances and artist-in-residence programs to students and professional development for teachers throughout the entire tri-state region. Our commitment is to make music, art, dance, theatre, new media and creative writing an integral part not only of learning, but of life. Through the transformative impact of the arts, we reach young people through many dimensions, breaking down the barriers of language and culture, accelerating personal growth, and stimulating children’s full potential to prepare them for life in the twenty-first century.

Posted on July 31, 2019, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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