LeAp brings excitement to P.S. 48 kids

LeAp teaching artist Joe Vigliotti instructing Anyssa Rodriguez, with innovative teaching methods, such as drama, dance, music, and visual arts, designed to reach a larger student population. Photo by Victor Chu

The students of P.S. 48, located at 1290 Spofford Ave, receive a treat twice a week when the Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program comes to visit.

LeAp recently received a $ 1 million grant to contribute towards its Arts Learning Leads to Literacy program, reaching ten schools throughout New York City, grades 3 thru 5, including P.S. 48.

“LeAp has been our partner for many years and we are thrilled and delighted each year they come in to our building,” noted Principal Roxanne Cardona. “They provide us with exciting and new arts and education experiences.”

The LeAp program has been working with the kindergarten thru second grade students for several years, and has this year expanded with the ALLL program to third and fourth, and will continue on to fifth the next school year.

“All the teachers have been so pleased with it, they consider it such a bonus,” said Larry Dombrow, former teacher but still active member of P.S. 48. “We do everything we have to here to make sure the program is a success.”

The LeAp organization incorporates dance, music, visual art, and drama into each selected classrooms through trained LeAp teaching artists. These LeAp professionals integrate the teacher’s current curriculum into the students learning during LeAp sessions.

“We use a very nontraditional way of teaching to engage the students,” said LeAp program director, Ila Lane Gross. “It’s deigned to break the boundaries between auditory learners and visual learners, to reach all kids no matter their learning style or status.”

Teaching artists meet regularly with the teachers to better understand the students and their learning abilities as well as discuss progress and suggestions. The teachers are also asked to attend monthly workshops at LeAp to incorporate new teaching methods into the regular classroom lessons.

Many of the tools used not only help the students learn their current curriculum, but teach skills to be use later on in life. For example, skimming, a technique commonly used at college and graduate levels, is taught through a game with sheets full of color blocks. Students are asked to keep track of a specific color and this is believed to begin training the brain to look for keywords in what they are viewing or reading.

“We try to create an engaging learning environment that lets them be as expressive as they want to be. For example if they want to be called by a nickname, we let them,” said Joe Vigliotti, a second year teaching artist for LeAp. “We try to have a free environment as best we can within the current school structure.”

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