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S E C T I O N 2 Education January 18, 2012 ■ Stories about local schools, students and issues related to learning A LSO INSIDE C A LE N DA R 23 |R E A L E S TAT E 24 |C L AS S I F I E D S 26 W hen Judy Sleeth walked into a Laurel School kindergarten classroom on a recent morning, greeted by the sight of kids in a semicircle hanging on every word of a young mother leading an art session, it was a homecoming of sorts. Thirty years ago, it was Ms. Sleeth in front of a class of kindergartners, including her daughter, on that same Atherton campus — a volunteer parent trying to fill the gap left when, because of budget cuts, arts education was drastically reduced in the Menlo Park City School District. At that time, Ms. Sleeth had to rely mostly on her own resources to create a classroom art program, a task made a bit easier by her background as a teacher with a degree in curriculum writing. Little did she know at the time that her daughter’s classroom would turn into an incubator. As she continued offering art programs at Laurel, then Encinal schools, and in the ensuing years, the Atherton mother of three went on to develop an eight-grade-level curriculum. Today, Ms. Sleeth’s Art in Action program is used in classrooms in some 25 states and four other countries. Because it is designed to educate C H A R G E D BY THE teacher as well as child, Art in Action can, and usually is, taught by volunteers, keeping its costs to schools low — about $14 annually per student, according to the AIA website. “I wrote this program for parents who don’t necessarily have any background in art,” Ms. Sleeth says. In addition to its use in all 22 of Laurel School’s classrooms, AIA is also teaching kids about art at Encinal, Nativity, St. Raymond’s, Phillips Brooks, Willow Oaks, and Synapse schools, as well as the Boys Continued on next page ARTS LOCAL PROGRAM CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF KEEPING ART ALIVE IN THE CLASSROOM Story by Renee Batti Photos by Michelle Le Clockwise from top, parent volunteer Amy Paye Venuto explains the art assignment to the class; kindergartner Julia is intensely focused as she creates her artwork; kindergartner Vaughn, at left, admires his creation while classmate Elisi pauses during the art session. On the cover: Laurel School kindergartner Noah reaches for a new color to put the final touches on his artwork during a recent Art in Action session. Classmate Emma is at left. Almanac photo by Michelle Le. January 18, 2012 N The Almanac N21

The Almanac 01.18.2011 - Section 2

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