Laughter filled the room as the children listened to each other’s Christmas poems in Mr. Kim’s Grade 6 class.
The Kaleidoscopes program takes place every Wednesday at Silver Springs Public Elementary School on Silver Springs Boulevard., near Birchmount Road and Finch Avenue East.
It is an intercultural arts program for youth in Grades 2 to 8. The program is administered by the Scarborough Arts organization and is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
It began because there was a noticeable need of the arts education in public schools.
“Kaleidoscopes is the result of a year long research project that was being conducted in the city’s east region; the program was called Mosaic,” says Matthews-Morgan, project coordinator for Kaleidoscopes for the past three years. “Scarborough is Canada’s most ethnically diverse area and we found out through our workshops, that several newcomers to Canada did not have art as a strong influence in their native countries.”
The program, taking place at five schools in the area, engages students in all areas of art.
“Before we begin our program each year I speak with the principals of each school to find out what the special artistic need is for that particular school,” Matthhews-Morgan said.
Every school has a customized program because the need and artistic want may be different than other schools. Some do photography, while others do drumming, for example.
Kaleidoscope is a five-year project and is presently in the third year of the five-year span.
“What I try to do when I work with the kids is give them encouragement,” said Dwayne Morgan a spoken word artist hired by Scarborough Arts. “I try to give them tips that will effectively help them in the long run but at the same time, I try to keep things light, simple and most importantly fun.”
Morgan specializes in poems and short stories. His main goal is to help the students find their inner voice. Other programs to be introduced to the program include theater and improv.
“Introducing acting will be a lot of fun because the children will like playing characters that are not themselves and it will also help the positively improve their public speacking and presentation skills,” Amanda Rabey said a program assistant of Kaleidoscopes.