- Sponsorship -

Before ArtPrize: Crosswalk Signs, Keeping Up, Basic Manners


ArtPrize venues were filled with students learning about art, but for one group it wasn’t just about that — it was a way to practice the life skills they had learned in the big city.

Every month, moderately cognitive impaired Page Elementary students take a trip to teach them about social skills so they can become independent in their community.

From understanding crosswalk lights to crossing streets to staying with their group — and the always important “not touching,” in the case of Art Prize — trips like this help the students practice skills they’ve learned in the places where they’ll use them in daily life.

“We do a lot of safety lessons throughout the year,” said Nicole Shipley, the school’s MOCI instructor, who along with volunteers and other teachers brought 22 students in grades 3-5 on the trip. “Safety in the big city is a good one since they live in Middleville, where there’s only one stoplight.”

Because the students have a variety of cognitive impairments, other issues besides safety can arise. “A lot of it is trying to get them over their anxieties as a group,” Shipley said.

All ages of students in the MOCI program went to ArtPrize. They’d been taught lessons about understanding crosswalk signs, keeping with one’s group, basic manners and stranger danger.

Jared Grabinski and his son Bradley pose for a picture at ArtPrize
Jared Grabinski and his son Bradley pose for a picture at ArtPrize

Navigating the Big City

One big task they faced came at the busy intersection in the center of town near Rosa Parks Circle. Shipley told her students to “watch the red guy waiting until you see the white running guy, and then you can go.”

Students especially liked an entry that asked visitors to write their dream on a piece of paper then thumbtack it to the wall. “You get to add it, and you’re a part of ArtPrize!” Shipley told them.

But it took a while for some to write their dreams down and stick them to the wall, so others who had finished were getting antsy. That was a perfect time to teach about manners. “Remember, we wait until our friends are finished writing their dreams,” Shipley reminded students.

Skylar Rose said the animal art was her favorite part of the trip, especially an aluminum foil giraffe head. She said she was confident about going on the trip. What did she learn in class before the visit?

“Don’t run away from your class,” she said, “and hold hands when you’re walking.”

Jared Grabinski, who enjoyed the trip with his son, Bradley, thought the adventure went smoothly. “It’s the biggest city they’ve been in, and they seem to be handling it all right,” he said.

CONNECT

Caledonia Coffee Shop Helps Students Transition

- Sponsorship -
Linda Odette
Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio or email Linda.

LATEST ARTICLES

Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Board to interview four applicants for superintendent post

The public is invited to attend interviews on Nov. 10-11 with four finalists for the Thornapple Kellogg superintendent post...

Superintendent announces retirement, interim named

A former Byron Center superintendent is taking the reins at Thornapple Kellogg on an interim basis...

‘I didn’t give up’

If a challenge becomes an excuse, said senior Clair Jansma, “it's much harder to overcome and you sacrifice opportunities”...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS