As a second-grade teacher at Harding Elementary School, Olivia Silva realizes the significant role art can play in a young student’s life.
“I think art is important because it allows students to express themselves without words,” Silva said. “It allows them to be creative and it does not limit what they can do.”
Due to limited funds, Silva said she is unable to incorporate art into her classroom as much as she would like.
Luckily for Silva, and educators across the El Centro Elementary School District, a former student is bringing more art opportunities to the classroom by way of workshops and donations of supplies and funds.
David Varela, an El Centro native and president of the Starts with Arts Foundation, said he wanted to give back to his hometown because he realized the art skills he learned in third grade help him in his career as a graphic designer today.
“I think if teachers are able to incorporate more art and music into their curriculum students can learn in a fun and creative way,” Varela said.
In order to help teachers use more art in math, science and reading, Varela led a workshop for nearly 20 teachers on Thursday.
“We’re going to do some basic painting exercises using stuff you can find outside or around the house,” Varela said.
After School Enrichment and Safety program teacher Becky Binggeli said she intended to use whatever skills and techniques she learned in the workshop with her students at Hedrick Elementary School.
“In art there are no mistakes and it allows students to be creative without getting graded,” Binggeli said. “It lets them breathe and they love it.”
Varela said he hopes to offer at least two workshops a month for teachers, parents and students.
“In the future we want to do poetry or spoken word workshops to help students who are having trouble learning English, or just want to learn a new language,” Varela said. “Art can be incorporated into almost anything.”
Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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