SAFE through the Arts is a bullying prevention program, which utilizes the creative and performing arts in order to empower young children. It is currently geared towards PreK and kindergarten classrooms in urban public schools within New York City’s five boroughs and Upstate New York’s Capital Region. Our priority is to bring the program into schools serving economically challenged and culturally diverse populations.
The program is based upon three key components: Self–Affirmation (Self-esteem), Financial literacy (Self-worth and value), and Education of non-violence (Getting along with others). These key components lay the foundation to build empowered human beings who have an understanding of their own unique strengths and talents. Through the integration of the three key components, students learn how they can positively contribute to their communities, accept and embrace differences within themselves and their peers, and communicate compassionately with one another. In addition, students gain exposure to a variety of creative and performing arts, which they can use for self-expression and creative problem-solving.
The three key components also lay the basis for the curriculum of the program, which incorporates singing, drawing, movement, dramatic role play and drumming. In addition, puppet skits featuring our sixteen unique characters are an integral part of the SAFE through the arts program. Through original songs and scripts, these characters teach children important life lessons. Word Bird teaches children how to use their kind and polite words; Charlie Chipmunk and Friendly Frog teach children how to use their “Happy Hands and Friendly Feet” at all times, and Teacher Beaver helps children discover their unique selves while getting along with others. The SAFE through the arts puppet characters were each created specifically to represent the cultural demographics found in the cities of New York’s Capital District and New York City public schools.
The SAFE through the arts program takes place in five PreK and kindergarten classrooms in each school once a week for the duration of seven weeks. Each class is one hour in length. As a program of Azalea Blossom, Incorporated, an educational non-profit 501c3 organization, SAFE through the arts is a free service to schools completely supported by grants and donations. Each classroom participating in the SAFE through the arts program receives a CD of songs used in the program, an informative teacher handbook, and colorful SAFE through the arts handbook for each child in the class.
Why the SAFE Through the Arts Program is important:
Due to the extreme upheaval and chaos in our world and country at present, there has never been a greater need for bullying prevention education and the arts in our schools.
Students from all backgrounds and cultures need to build their self-confidence as well as to learn tools to help them cope and thrive in an increasingly controversial society.
Children who have been exposed to SAFE through the arts are more easily able to identify positive attributes within themselves than children from the similar demographics and cultural backgrounds who have not been participated in SAFE through the arts. In addition, children who have participated in SAFE through the arts have are able to more easily able to employ their imaginations through dramatic role play and writing and drawing exercises in order to visualize themselves as prosperous, positively contributing members of our society in the future. Furthermore, students who have participated in SAFE through the arts are more aware of how to appropriately express their emotions towards others. They are also more likely to integrate the values of self-love, cooperation, accepting others who are different, speaking kindly to one another, and treating one another with respect.and compassion. These are all important skills, which children when taught at a young age, will carry with them into adulthood.
Music has been proven to be an important tool for learning academic subjects including math. The incorporation of songs reaffirming the positive messages and key components of SAFE through the arts help to make the program effective. Also, music, along with the other art modalities integrated into the program, is an important tool for expression and creative problem-solving. In addition, SAFE through the arts includes thirteen New York learning standards and many core curriculum requirements for PreK and kindergarten while also addressing character education requirements.The use of the multiple learning theory within the program ensures that each student, regardless of how they learn, will be able to absorb the vital life lessons taught during the SAFE through the arts program.
The following are testimonies from past SAFE through the arts participants on why the program is so important:
“It t helps people who are not brave to stand up for themselves.”
“It shows you how to feel confident and believe in yourself always”.
“I learned that you should always believe that you are beautiful and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
“ I learned how to stay centered and to always believe in myself”.
“The program teaches students how to be kind and respectful.”
“I learned how to protect myself and stand up for others.”
“The program inspired me to do things I’ve never dreamed of doing before!”