Developing Love of Fine Arts in Shawnee Mission Schools
The relationship between Nelson-Atkins and the teachers of Shawanoe through Caring for Kids is so very important. All students involved in this initiative are in Title I buildings. Building relationships and maintaining them is critical for any new learning to occur. The classroom teachers are naturally expected to build these relationships with their students. However, the Nelson staff and volunteers also view relationship-building with students as a top priority, and I can say that they have successfully accomplished it. When students are in the school hallways transitioning from one classroom to another and they see the “Nelson crew,” they pump their fists with excitement and say “It is a VTS day!” This interaction is the result of adults who are truly invested and committed to the cause.
The excitement in the building is nothing compared to the excitement you see once the students visit the Nelson. For some students, it is their first time to the Nelson, let alone any museum. As they enter through the revolving door step on the marble floor their jaws drop in awe. The docent then explains that this is just the entrance and to wait until they visit the art. The students are excited to see their docent again, because you see, due to bi-weekly prior classroom visits there is an established relationship.
After this wonderful field trip the students indeed feel that the Nelson is home. The buildings, the art, the staff, especially their beloved docent all have left a lasting impression. With the Nelson being home, being something familiar these students will return together with their families to share their newfound enthusiasm for the fine arts.
Alejandro Schlagel, Principal