Take art supplies, mix them with heaping portions of creativity, and serve them to elementary-aged kids hungry for a break from screen time—that’s our winning recipe for Arts + Learning Snacks, which are now being delivered to area elementary schools. These art activity kits have the right ingredients for kids to use their hands and minds to make an art project by themselves or with their caregivers.
Five Norfolk public elementary schools have received the first batch of Learning Snacks, which feature instructions in English and Spanish on how to create a mini-comic. A4L’s comic artist Matt Harrison designed the curriculum, which includes supplies and calls for students to invent characters, plots, and settings as they write and draw their own comic adventures.
A number of artists and board members have stepped up to help assemble the snacks, following all COVID-19 safety precautions.
Storyteller Via Goode and board member Diane Gibson had the honor of delivering the first snacks to five Norfolk elementary schools: Jacox, James Monroe, Lindenwood, Tidewater Park, and Richard Bowling.
Another Learning Snack, the “Zen of ‘Za,” will be distributed soon. The snack is custom designed for students with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), tying movement of the body with lines in art; activities include students stretching to “make a pizza” and creating a decorative “pizza” out of the art materials supplied. A4L dancer Jae P Renee is creating supplemental videos with visual instructions for students. Two hundred of these snacks are headed to the Portsmouth Autism Resource Team (PART) for distribution. The Zen of ‘Za will also be provided to a number of schools for use by kids in kindergarten through third grade who don’t have an ASD diagnosis.
The two current Learning Snacks—with a new one now being developed—will be distributed for free to more students via additional elementary schools in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia Beach Public Libraries, the Newport News FACE office, and community sites in Portsmouth.
There’s a little added bonus for Norfolk’s PB Young Elementary School from the Snacks’ initiative. Thanks to Office Depot’s “Give Back to Schools” program, the school has received $115 in rewards from the money we’ve spent to purchase supplies for the kits.
The snack kits give under-resourced students a break from screen time and the challenge of a hands-on arts project that aligns with Virginia’s fine arts and literacy Standards of Learning. Would you like to help bring more Learning Snacks to children in economically disadvantaged areas of Hampton Roads? Click here to donate.
Do you want to learn how you can bring Learning Snacks to your school, library, or community center? Start by clicking here for more info!
We’re grateful to our partners who are underwriting the cost of these “meals for the mind”—thanks to Aldi Smart Kids, the E.C. Wareheim Foundation, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, the Portsmouth Service League, and the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission for their major support of this new initiative.