Energy of the Mind
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” ~ Aristotle
When we are happy our brains do better work. LEAPS has brought joy to a class of second graders. Research over the past decade tells us that positive brains fuel greater success, and there’s evidence to prove it. We’ve seen it for ourselves though. Productivity, creativity, and engagement most definitely skyrocket when kids are invested and happy in their work.
From their first encounter, Cushing’s second graders responded passionately to the program. Since that moment they have exhibited the kinds of traits we want to see in all students. They are motivated. They push the outside of the envelope. They notice connections and forge new ones of their own. Their feeling of empowerment has positively impacted the processes of making and creating.
On our final day, we used our morning meeting to pull together key concepts from our five days together. LEAPS is rooted in social justice, and it was important to us that children link their love of animals to positive outcomes. We asked them for ideas about making our world a better place for animals. Here’s what they had to say:
“Make it illegal to hunt animals. Take guns and knives away.” “Make the world cleaner.” “Make sure animals have all the food they need.” “Take care of your pets.” “Try to keep the air cleaner.” “Make it illegal to chop down trees.” “Don’t pick flowers – plant trees and flowers!”
Finishing up their printing, children applied their skills with astounding confidence. The expressions on their faces, as they looked upon their art, revealed true satisfaction.
We want to express our gratitude to Nicole McLellan, second grade teacher, to Ainslee Riley, principal, to the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Maine Arts Commission, Nellie Leaman Taft Foundation, and the Davis Family Foundation for funding our work in schools. No doubt, for children who engage deeply in art making and related experiences in reading, writing, and science, there are innumerable positive outcomes.
Mark your calendars for the Second Grade Student Art Show at Cushing Public Library, at 10:00 AM, on Monday, March 28. Children will talk about their artwork, their thinking, and how the two came together.