CVSM and FCHS Introduce Arts Integrated Preschool Program in Franklin County

By January 18, 2017Uncategorized

Cumberland Valley School of Music (CVSM) and Franklin County Head Start (FCHS) announce the pilot program of an Arts-Integrated Preschool program in Franklin County. This collaboration will bring direct arts instruction (music, dance, and visual art) to four Head Start classrooms from January 2017 until May 2017.
The curriculum will include music, dance and visual art instruction from a specialist in each artistic discipline integrated with the standard curriculum taught by qualified Head Start preschool teachers.  The pilot will place specialists in four classrooms in Head Start centers on a once weekly basis. Each classroom will receive one 30-minute session each of art, dance, and music each week for fourteen weeks.
It is the goal of FCHS and CVSM that the pilot program will grow into a full-fledged program where music, dance, and visual arts will be a daily part of designated Head Start Classrooms.
Our program is strengthened by the expertise of the collaborating organizations: FCHS has expertise in early childhood education and CVSM has expertise and connections in the arts. We both aim for high-quality, process-based programs with tangible outcomes.
The Head Start Approach to School Readiness means that children are ready for school, families are ready to support their children’s learning, and schools are ready for children. Readiness includes physical (health and motor development), cognitive (language, literacy and approach to learning), social, and emotional development. Head Start views school readiness as children possessing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for success in school and for later learning and life.
CVSM believes that the benefits of the study of music and arts and the participation in musical and other artistic activities extend beyond artistic proficiency to academic and vocational performance, social skills, and enriching one’s life experiences.
Arts-integrated instruction provides knowledge, skills, and behavior practice for the children to be kindergarten-ready. The integration of the arts curriculum provides additional support to the Head Start objectives while providing alternate methods for children to demonstrate knowledge and skill acquisition. Students will sing, dance, play instruments, and interact with music during the music sessions. Students will manipulate various mediums such as paint, clay, crayons, paper, etc. as part of the art sessions. Students will move to music and words, following sequences and creating patterns, as part of the dance sessions.
The unique aspect of this project is the integration of the arts in the preschool curriculum. Although  almost all preschools use music, visual art and dance during the day, the use is not always intentional way nor is it always fully integrated with the curriculum. The integration of the arts curriculum will provide additional support to educational objectives and provide alternative methods for children to acquire and demonstrate knowledge and skill.
The arts specialists are Heather Kline, music; Ruth Mugg, dance; and Merissa Vevasis, visual art.
Heather is an instructor with CVSM, has degrees in Music Education and School Counseling, and is a certified Musikgarten (early-childhood music program) instructor. She currently teaches Musikgarten and acting classes at CVSM, and provides music instruction for the preschool children at Apple Place Nursery. She believes that music helps us learn about the world and ourselves; that it brings us joy and comfort, and nurtures and heals our souls. 
Ruth currently teaches with the Chambersburg Ballet Theatre. She was born and raised in London and immigrated to the US with her husband and children in 1981. From 1991 until 2015 she worked for the City of Gaithersburg as a preschool teacher and dance instructor, which expanded into elementary grades. She finds that dance is another tool to use to introduce material to students and also to spark their own creativity.
Merissa earned her bachelor’s degree in art therapy combining courses in art, elementary education, and psychology. Since moving to Central PA, she has taught various classes, workshops and camps for art, dance and theatre organizations, including the Council for the Arts and the Capitol Theatre. Merissa helped organize and develop the “Creative Kids @ the Capitol” program at the Capitol Theatre where she taught weekly “Mommy and Me” art and drama classes as well as CKC’s children and teen theatre classes. Merissa currently volunteers as an art teacher for Corpus Christi School in Chambersburg.
The pilot program is funded by the Franklin County Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, and the local Rotary Foundation.
For additional details or information, please call Heather McEndree, Program Manager for CVSM,  at 717-261-1220.