My classroom is exclusively seniors, all working toward a diploma and graduation. At some point in their education, they were labeled "at-risk."
These students have some mountain to climb -for some it is poverty, neglect, abuse, motivation, and a lack of confidence.
Our state offers these students a last chance to succeed in their high school career, and it is my job to help get them there. We work on Career and College exploration, character education, life skills, communication, reading/writing, and experiential experiences outside of the classroom.
I believe that this a very important opportunity for each of them, not only to earn their diploma, but also to prepare and create a path for their future.
It is proven that students can process and create through art. There is therapy in the reflection, colors, and finished product.
Students can use paint and canvas to create a piece that holds meaning, expresses who they are and their journey.
So often, education is kept strictly to academics, but research and experience has shown that students need an opportunity to create. For it to be therapy, the painting does not follow an "art code" or a grading scale, rather a way for students to connect with an inner voice.
Paint and canvas creates a product that can be appreciated by many for years to come. Art therapy is a worthy endeavor for my at risk students.
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