Want to End Bullying in Our Communities? Support the Arts.

Go Girls! from Glenview Elementary School in Oakland, CA create their "Tower of Oops," an interactive art piece that reinforces the message that making mistakes is a crucial part of learning.
Go Girls! from Glenview Elementary School in Oakland, CA create their “Tower of Oops,” an interactive art piece that reinforces the message that making mistakes is a crucial part of learning.

As I write this post, the final post for Bullying Awareness Month, I am seated on the floor of a Chicago hotel where I am attending the National Guild for Community Arts Education National Conference.  I am here representing other teaching artists like myself and our unique role in educating and empowering children and other folks in our schools and communities.  As a sit here among my peers and colleagues, I am reminded and re-energized about the magic and power of the arts in teaching all of our kids the essential social/emotional skills they need to respect themselves, command respect, and respect others.

We know from both research and experience the incredible benefits of engaging kids through the arts.  It helps not only their social/emotional development but their cognitive development.  When kids make art they build their resiliency and grit which leads to an increased sense of self-worth and belief in their own capacities to make a difference in their own lives and in the world.  Making art in collaboration with other kids allows for students to cross racial/ethnic/socio-economic barriers, helps build empathy, communication, and conflict resolution skills.  When all of these things are happening, we are creating communities full of kids who are supported to use their powers in creative instead of constructive ways.  When kids feel this good about themselves and each other, bullying goes away.

Check out this video from the Edutopia website:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPbKUF2zbyw&w=420&h=315]

Please, continue to advocate for and insist on quality arts programming for your kids in their schools and in your communities.  If your kid is fortunate enough to have access to lots of arts already, ask yourself, “What can I do to help make these kinds of experiences available for other children?”  If you are not sure what to do, keep in touch with me.  We’ll talk.

This post is #25 of 25 Tips to Teach Your Daughter to Respect Herself, Command Respect, and Respect Others.  Wanna make sure you get all 25 Tips for Bullying Awareness Month?  CLICK HERE and we’ll send ‘em right to your email!

For more incredible Go Girls! resources for helping your girl stay safe, happy, and healthy in her relationships, check out Kidpower and get your copy of Starring Celia.