Expressive Arts for Children In Communities


The name of my program is Expressive Arts For Children In Communities. It seems to be such a simple title or even just an ordinary title, yet to me this title holds so much significant meaning. It’s a representation of a lifetime of exploration and passion I have discovered through the process of connecting with people especially children in an artistic and therapeutic way. As a student I struggled to find success in an ordinary major that someone designed for me to complete. I found my passion and desire for learning began to burn out and I became unmotivated to be successful in school. I started off my college career as a Psychology major and found it very interesting, yet I still was not satisfied with my education so I changed to Art Education and stayed with that major for three years. I think , like most people, I blamed myself for not being a “good student” or viewed myself as “lazy” and believed that I needed to just stick with my major because that would be the right thing to do given that I had invested so much time on one major. Over time I came to the realization that if I constructed my own major filled with a multitude of disciplines I could not only pave a path for myself but pave a path for students who face similar struggles as I did.

Expressive Arts for Children In Communities, works with disciplines such as Art, Art Education, Social Work courses that cover ages ranging from toddlers to seniors in high school, and social work courses that help me have a deeper understanding of community and the struggles they face.

Expressive Arts for Children and Communities is designed to get myself out into the community and help children of all ages work through their everyday life processes and social, psychological and physical development by using art as a means of expression. The combination of the social work and art can create a safe space for a child to freely express himself or herself, discover his or her strengths and discover new opportunities that may help them build the confidence in themselves that they may have never previously had.

Expressive Arts for Children in Communities is unlike any other major or minor here at PSU because it dives deep into a multitude of disciplines that give undergraduate students the understanding of what children at all stages of development in diverse communities face and explores methods and theories of how to help individuals discover and heal themselves through the act of creating art.

As I put together my major, it was important to me to carefully select classes that would properly represent my major. These courses consist of: Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies: This course was chosen because it has given me the understanding of how interdisciplinary programs work and how to properly build my major. It has broadened my perspective on the collaboration of Disciplines and how it is positively impacting higher education and also is being used for my TECO

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar: I chose this class to add into my program because it will help prepare me for graduation and to better prepare me for heading off into the career world. This course is being used for my INCO

Foundations of Art Education: this course is added into the program for students to get a grasp on the fundamental importance of Art Education and methods of teaching Art and how Art experiences can help children express themselves and learn from making art.

Methods and Materials: I think that methods and materials is necessary to this program because this course has educated me on what materials are available while teaching art and how to properly and safely use those materials.

Survey of Art: This course is necessary for students entering Expressive Arts For Children In Communities because I want students to have a general understanding of the history of art and how it has progressed overtime. Also learning about different artists throughout history. Its important to me to learn the history of the disciplines in my major.

Oppression and Diversity: I chose this course to add into my program because I think its important to be educated on diverse communities and the struggles that they face. Being aware of these challenges will help me understand children from these communities on a deeper level.

Drawing objects, interior, and land: I included this course because I think its important in the therapeutic and artistic process to be able to go outside, or find a peaceful place to create art. This course has given me a deeper perspective on different places you can create art and what environments I can offer children to make them feel the most comfortable.

Painting: Theory and Process: Painting is a great way to flow freely and connect with your inner emotional self. I personally found a lot of peace within the act of painting. This class taught me a new medium and I think it will help some children heal and express themselves.

Foundations of Ceramics: This course is another great building tool. As patients begin to strengthen their ceramic skills it builds confidence and is a rewarding experience. This course enhances my program giving me an educational background on ceramics and is a fun hands on tactile experience.

Introduction to Social Work: Social work is one of the most important parts about my program. It heightens awareness about social problems in the community and it educates you on how to help people realize their strengths and true potential. This course will help my program by educating me about children in the community and some of the problems they face,

Child Maltreatment: in todays society drugs and poverty are major issues. It is no secret that many children all over America are being affected by this. I want to learn about abuse and neglect that takes place in homes and how to work with children with compassion and understanding for what they are going through. I want to know how to properly approach a child who has experienced abuse and neglect when working with them.

Child Welfare and Family Services: I wanted this course to be a part of my program so that I can learn about what services are offered for children in troubled homes. If a student thinks a patient is in danger I want them to be educated on how to properly assist them.

Mentoring Adolescence: I am so excited that this course is added into my program. It gives me the opportunity to work one on one mentoring adolescence. This course is a great warm-up to starting my career.

Art Expression Through The Lifespan is a collaboration of multiple disciplines that will prepare students for their future. It will give students the skills of team building and communicating with a large variety of professionals from different disciplines. Art Expressions Through the Visual World is much more then just a mix of random courses, it is a melting of social work and art and it will make a difference in so many peoples lives.

Intro To Early Childhood: This is used form my WRCO This course is very helpful to Expressive Arts For Children In Communities because it teaches the stages of development with children and gives methods for how to properly help them in each stage.

Statistical Literacy In Todays Society: This course works as my QRCO and will help my program by teaching me the statistics on today’s society. I want my program to be well-rounded and I believe this math course works well with Expressive Arts for Children In Communities.

Expressive Arts For Children In Communities is interdisciplinary because It is mixed with Art education, social work, and early childhood studies. Together these disciplines are coming together to create my major. With this major I can continue after earning my Undergraduate degree to earn a Master’s Degree and become an art therapist, work in community centers helping children from troubled backgrounds do art, and potentially work in a school or hospital doing art therapy. With Expressive Arts For Children In Communities I see endless opportunities to help children in their lives and also to create a rewarding life experience for myself by putting together all the things that I love and making it my career.

One comment

  1. Ashley, this is such important work. Art, as a means of therapy can be SO powerful for adolescents. Being able to express themselves in an open, supportive environment is key in allowing their personalities to flourish. Good for you for seeing this opportunity and building this altruistic major!

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