After-school program Kaleidoscope’s into Scarborough

A new after-school program will be provided to schools in Scarborough starting in January. With an emphasis on multiculturalism, Scarborough Arts created Kaleidoscope, a collaborative arts and culture program that will be featured in five elementary schools.

It’s incredible how [from these programs] nurturing artists go on to become professional artists

“I’m boggled that it hasn’t happened yet,” said program coordinator Tamla Matthews-Morgan.

“It’s incredible how [from these programs] nurturing artists go on to become professional artists, while others develop a sense of community.”

Kaleidoscope began with a program called Creative Mosaics, a youth culture program that caters to under-served neighbourhoods in Scarborough. They conducted a needs assessment last year, asking schools, teachers, and students what they want when it came to new after-school programs.

Kaleidoscope program coordinator Tamla Matthews-Morgan explains how the after-school program started and what there is to look forward to with the new arts and culture program.

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Creative Mosaics did the groundwork and figured out what’s not being met, whose voices aren’t being heard, and what they need to do. From this, a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation was submitted to create the Kaleidoscope program, which will last five years.

“In year three or four [schools] there’s talks to have a summer component and a documentary and how it has impacted students,” said Matthews-Morgan who specializes in after-school curricular activities.

The program involves five art forms – mural/graffiti arts, performing arts, music, creative movement/dance and digital arts.

Since it’s a shorter year this year, Kaleidoscope will bring a bit of each art form to the schools so they can get a taste of the new endeavour they can look forward to.

The program aims for grades four, five, and six.

“Maybe [start off with] one session to introduce what the kids can do and after that, there will be a showcase,” said Matthew-Morgan. “And then there will be a big showcase with all the schools.”

It mobilizes a community and it can be very powerful

According to Matthew-Morgan, there are community arts programs that put on a showcase and it’s an event for everyone to enjoy and support.

“Grandmas and grandpas – everyone. It mobilizes a community and it can be very powerful.”

Kaleidoscope will start in January 2012 in the following schools – Warden Woods Public School, Silver Springs Public School, Military Trail Public School, St. Dunstan Catholic School, and St. Boniface Catholic School.

“There’s some limits in terms of what’s available in Scarborough schools, especially diverse communities. They don’t have after-school programs,” said Matthews-Morgan.

“I’m interested in bringing this experience to Scarborough.”