Thanks to an ongoing partnership with the Sacramento Metro Arts Commission, Lake Canyon’s second grade students have been working with local artists for a six-week program that uses art to reinforce lessons they’ve learned in class.

“The kids get six hours of interaction time with professional artists,” said Principal Judi Hayes. “[The artists] are working with teachers to integrate themes.”

Earlier in the school year, the Art Integration Club worked with Nancy Quiaoit to create anti-bullying posters that have since been turned into industrial quality stickers to be hung in the school bathrooms. Now, the second grade students are working with Quiaoit to create murals for the school’s bee gardens or with Lauren Randez on creating awareness of the seven elements of art.

“So, they’ve learned about bees and now they’re learning how to paint,” Quiaoit explained. “They’re learning how to work together and stay on task. It’s really great for self-esteem, team building, and also how to do a project together from start to finish.”

“There’s a lot of learning goals happening all at once,” Hayes said. “They can take their knowledge of science and the garden, and they can display that through the artwork they’re creating.”

This approach of education through integration is central to Lake Canyon as the ideas students learn in the classroom are then applied in creative and hands-on ways. This gives students the opportunity to engage with community members in a meaningful way. Hayes also believes this helps students to be more engaged and more excited about what they’re learning.

“They’re very aware, for example, of bees. It’s the cutest thing. When they see a bee on campus, they say ‘be careful.’ They want to protect them,” Hayes said. “They have a sense of ownership of those bees. That’s a pollinator that’s very important to agriculture in our local community.”

Additionally, the partnership with Sacramento Metro Arts Commission plays an important role in exposing students to positive adult influences, allowing them to have role models aside from their teachers and parents.

“Our district is really working to integrate career connections, so having the bee keepers and having the artists, it all connects together because the kids are able to see these caring adults that are coming to our campus to work with them on awareness of these big themes,” Hayes said.

This is the fourth year working with the Sacramento Metro Arts Commission, and this year alone the artists have been able to work with approximately 150 Lake Canyon students. Plans are already in the works for next year’s program where fifth and sixth grade students will work with artists to explore careers and university paths.

When the students’ murals are finished, they will be sealed and permanently displayed along the back of the school campus where the second grade gardens are.