by Pat MacPherson, Director, CDSS Education Department
The Country Dance and Song Society is one of over 200 Western MA nonprofits participating in Valley Gives Day, an e-philanthropy event to be held on 12.12.12. Although the nonprofit businesses must be based here, donors from anywhere may give!
We’ve chosen to use funds raised through Valley Gives to create online courses in traditional dance and music for public school teachers. Our goal is to give teachers the basic skills to easily incorporate these traditional arts into the contemporary classroom.
CDSS's participation in Valley Gives — and your support — will jumpstart this project. You can donate on 12.12.12 or schedule a donation now.
Why are we raising funds for this project?
Did you know that instruction time for the arts is decreasing across the nation? In the meanwhile, there is a strong push for greater focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) which is needed. But, as Luis Martinez-Fernandez wrote recently in The Miami Herald, "There is nothing wrong with such a rallying cry, except that STEM education usually comes at the expense of HAS (humanities, arts, and social sciences)."
Think about that, and think about the natural world:
A push for one view at the expense of another usually puts an ecological system out of balance. We need scientists and engineers, but we also need poets, musicians, dancers, and the arts to interpret and express the wonders of our world. Private institutions can do that and provide a well-rounded education, but curricula in public schools risk becoming increasingly narrow.
Participatory art, which is the focus of CDSS’s program,"“teaches children life skills such as developing an informed perception; articulating a vision; learning to solve problems and make decisions; building self-confidence and self-discipline; developing the ability to imagine what might be; and accepting responsibility to complete tasks from start to finish." (Americans for the Arts, 2002). We agree! These are skills to complement learning in the classroom, engender learning beyond the school walls, and which, above all, nurture our spirits.
"Stems without flowers is just a bare stem." Let’s grow the whole flower — give to the Country Dance and Song Society TODAY!
* National survey by Common Core and the Farkas Duffett Research Group of 1,001 3rd-12th grade public school teachers (2011)