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I spent the morning with young artists whose work was featured in an opening at The Phillips Collection (opens in a new window) that featured young (and I mean young) artists; the oldest were in 5th grade, most were prekindergarten through 2nd.

It was amazing, energizing, exciting, and downright remarkable.

The opening of the ‘Young Artists Exhibition: Art Links to Literacy’ culminated a yearlong museum-school program developed by Turning the Page (opens in a new window) (TTP), a DC-based organization whose mission is to link “public schools, families and our community so that we can ensure DC students receive valuable educational resources and a high quality public education.” (By way of full disclosure, I believe in what TTP does and its approach, and serve as a board member.)

Collaborations with rich resources like the Phillips (and its forward thinking Education Department (opens in a new window)) helps make learning come alive for young children, their teachers and just as important, the children’s families.

It was electrifying to see how many family members attended a daytime program. Not only mothers and fathers but grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles — it was just that special. And all partners — museum, TTP, and school staffs — made everyone feel welcomed and wonderful. Parents in particular were thanked and honored by the sponsors — and by their children.

After the various presentations, the families had an entire museum to visit using the “museum manners” that the children reviewed with the Phillips staff. They also had lots of books carefully selected to enhance not only the museum experiences but also the strides the children made in reading and making connections.

Turning the Page

The children went through the exhibit with catalogs in hand, examining the child-artist creations carefully, savoring the moment and the experience.

And so should anyone who is in the neighborhood of The Phillips Collection. “Community Vision” will be up through August.

About the Author

Reading Rockets’ children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Publication Date
May 29, 2009