Head Start kids finish arts outreach program

Head Start kids finish arts outreach program

Community Action Wayne/Medina Head Start (CAWM) and the Wayne Center for the Arts (WCA) announced the successful completion of their collaborative arts outreach program, made possible by a grant from the PNC Foundation as part of PNC Grow Up Great.

The program provided 204 visits/sessions in art and music programming to 340 Head Start students from Wayne and Medina Counties. Forty-nine percent of the program participants come from families living in extreme poverty, defined as below 100% of the poverty index. This program also served a particularly vulnerable population, including 11 children in foster care and nine experiencing homelessness.

PNC Grow Up Great is the bank’s $500 million, bilingual, signature philanthropic initiative designed to help prepare children from birth through age 5 for success in school and life.

“Extensive research indicates that the returns on investment in high-quality early education and school readiness initiatives are significant and long lasting – impacting our children, our society and the health of our economy,” said Joe Luckring, PNC regional president for Akron. “We believe it is never too early to invest in a child’s future success through readiness for learning and education. We are excited to collaborate with CAWM and the WCA to help provide art and music programming to young children across our communities.”

The program yielded impressive results, demonstrating the positive impact of arts education on young children. Here are some key highlights:

Academic development

Children showed a 12.51% advancement in geometry and spatial sense between November (prior to the program) and May (after two six- week sessions).

Fine motor skills

Participants demonstrated a 6.2% improvement in fine motor skills over the same period.

Social-emotional growth

Teachers observed significant positive changes in social-emotional development:

—80.7% reported positive feelings about artwork.

—57.7% believed the program provided an opportunity for self-expression (self-esteem).

—73.1% observed increased focus on the project (concentration/attention).

—80.7% noted positive interaction with WCA staff (socialization/mentorship).

The program’s benefits extended beyond measurable data. Lessons actively reinforced classroom curriculum concepts, sparking conversations with families as children proudly shared their artwork at home. Most importantly, the program offered a unique opportunity for these young students to engage in new and creative experiences, fostering a love for the arts.

“We are incredibly grateful to the PNC Foundation for their generous support,” said James Fox, CEO of CAWM. “This program provided a vital opportunity for our most vulnerable children to explore their creativity, develop essential skills, and build positive relationships. The impact on these young lives is truly remarkable.”

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