As part of the Family Literacy Initiative, Gardens Elementary began "Linking Literacy", a program that uses an artistic approach as the vehicle for instruction by combining literature with classical works of music and art.
Through creative activities the program provides families and community members an opportunity to share the power of the arts, respond to literature, promote a love for reading and increase an understanding that literature and creativity empower education and future potential.
The "Linking Literacy" program recently earned national recognition from the Crayola Corporation and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, as one of 22 across the country to receive the Champion Creatively Alive Children project.
In February, Gardens, in collaboration with Literacy Advance of Houston, Be a Champion/Little Coogs, Crayola Crayon, Gardens' PTA, Communities in School (CIS), and Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE), hosted their annual Family Literacy Night. Literacy Advance of Houston presented strategies to promote literacy at home from infancy through the elementary school years, while students and their teachers explored the world of literature with a paint brush.
With the assistance from student volunteers from Jackson and Parkview Intermediate, Pasadena, Memorial, Sam Rayburn high schools and YES Preparatory, each student chose two books to add to their home library and joined their parents to share their book, cookies and punch in the cafeteria.
In May, Gardens hosted their culminating activity through Family Art Night, where every Pre-k through fourth grade student had art work displayed. Additionally, families were given the opportunity to tour through each art genre represented and families participated in various hands-on art activities including "Pollock in the Parking Lot", where students and their families created a Jackson Pollock styled artwork to display at school.
With help from the Gardens' CIS, ACE, PTA, Pasadena ISD Education Foundation, the Kinder Morgan Foundation and Be a Champion, Gardens hopes to expand their Linking Literacy program in the 2012-2013 school year. They hope to include professional staff development on lesson integration, parenting and family programs, as well as art and literacy clubs to inspire and promote a love for reading.
Through this program the hope to increase understanding that literature and creativity empower learning and impact future potential and opportunities for Gardens' students, parents, business partners, and the Gardens community.