Connecting Curriculum With Our Region’s Resources
For the seventh year in a row, two local family foundations have awarded the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. funds to allow 22,000 students the opportunity to connect their classroom learning with the rich resources in our region. According to WEDF Executive Director, Louise Clarke, “These experiences, known as Culture LEAPs (Learning Through Arts Partnerships) breathe life into the curriculum. Through experiential learning and investigation in museums, a wildlife sanctuary and live theatre and music, active learning takes place and strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills.”
The substance of the program is its highly collaborative nature. Partners include the supporting foundations, cultural organizations and institutions, the Worcester Public Schools, the Education Working Committee of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, and WEDF. The individuals who ensure quality are the district’s curriculum specialists, the museum educators, and the administrators and teachers in the schools.
Each LEAP is linked to the curriculum and includes pre-visit preparation, a field trip to an institution and post-visit projects and programs. This year’s WEDF mini-grants program is providing extra points to projects that enhance the experience through additional pre-visit readiness or post-visit undertakings. Mini-grant funds may be used to purchase supplies or materials that enhance the LEAP through innovative classroom endeavors.
This year’s LEAPs to local institutions include:
Grade 1 – EcoTarium
Grade 2 – Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Grade 3 – Old Sturbridge Village
Grade 4 – Worcester Art Museum
Grade 5 – Worcester Historical Museum
Grade 6 – Mechanics Hall
Grade 7 – Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary/ Massachusetts Audubon
Grade 8 – Preservation Worcester & City Hall
Grade 9 – Crocodile River at Anna Maria College and Worcester State University
Grade 10 – Tsongas Industrial Center
Grade 11 – Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts
Grade 12 – Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts
This unique partnership is an exemplar of collaboration that includes committed and generous funders, the expertise of educators, and the welcoming spirit of the institutions.
Instruments and Supplies
So many Worcester students love to sing, perform, paint, draw, and express themselves through the arts. The WEDF has purchased new musical instruments for every elementary, middle, and high school, and given art teachers funds to buy needed materials and supplies.