Salvador Elementary commits to the artistic process, creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking as the model for learning across disciplines while inspiring our diverse community with a passion for curiosity.
What do we really want our kids to learn at school? Reading? Math? Science? Yes, of course, but more important is to teach our kids to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. At Salvador Elementary School, we value inquiry, creativity, and the 21st century skills of communication and collaboration. To meet these goals we are delivering academics through a unique framework called Artful Learning. As one of five magnet schools in the Napa Valley Unified School District, Salvador integrates the arts and the artistic process into the daily classroom experience. This unique methodology employs an interdisciplinary approach that is anchored by a central Concept while posing a Significant Question that allow educators to teach a broad spectrum of rigorous academic content. Studying through the arts generates deeper comprehension for students and high levels of student engagement.
Artful Learning, supported by the Leonard Bernstein Center, is working with Salvador staff to implement this school reform model based on Bernstein’s belief that that the process of experiencing the arts, provides a fundamental way to instill a lifelong love of learning in children. The model; experience, inquire, create, reflect, starts with a Masterwork experience. Students learn about a painting, photograph, song, or other art piece. This immediate engagement leaves students curious to learn more. The Significant Question guides the inquiry and students use a variety of research techniques to delve into the content. As students inquire, new understandings develop and connections are made. After the learning, students design and complete an Original Creation – a tangible, artistic manifestation that demonstrates their understanding of the new knowledge. This final product is then ready for presentation. Finally, students reflect on their learning. This process is documented through narratives, maps and metaphors that enable students to make connections to their lives and the world around them.
Salvador teachers are highly trained in the Artful Learning model. Teachers have mapped their standards and developed interdisciplinary units inquiry centers for learning. Teachers use more than a dozen arts-based strategies that are infused across the curriculum for increased student understanding and cognitive development.
The success of this program hinges on artist partnerships to support students in their original creations. Working with the teachers and offering master classes for students to perfect their artistic skills are a crucial role that artists play in this model of implementation. Music, metal, watercolor, clay, etc. are all mediums that can be used to reflect student learning and expand students’ artistic repertoire. Developing these partnerships within our community helps us sustain a program designed to develop students into creative, innovative, solution-driven individuals that we need for the future success of our economy. If you’re interested in getting involved in this exciting project, please contact Pam Perkins, Principal of Salvador.