Our Wildwood, Winter 2017, Volume 40

project. “Michael jumped in,” Kendra remembers. “While doing a jersey wasn’t the initial assignment, it was an opportunity to get a foot in with a student—to support him.” Bravery, risk-taking, flexibility, and non-judgment are life-skills practiced daily in the art room. Getting uncomfortable, as this 3rd grader did, in a safe and supportive group environment breeds resilience, courage, discipline, and self- discovery. “We go out of our way to reach every child,” Kendra says. As subject matter progresses from kindergarten through 5th grade, so do themes of multiculturalism, incorporated into the curricula for each grade level. This year, the themes include Age & Family Structure (Pods), Gender & Appearance (2nd grade), Ethnicity & Citizenship Status (3rd grade), Race (4th grade), and Language & Abilities (5th grade). Visual Arts makes connections to those themes by looking at ethnography, history, society, or ancestry. Kendra is CONNECTING TO MULTICULTURALISM

always thinking of ways to bring in multiple perspectives. “When we find opportunities for that connection, it’s more meaningful and purposeful,” she says. Jennie Kampani, a new Wildwood mother, met with Kendra and 3rd grade teachers Melanie and Jody to plan a Diwali celebration on campus. Kendra, as the 3rd grade’s specialist buddy, helped the children create rangoli in several spots on campus using pigmented powder, chalk pastels, and marigolds. Specialist “buddies” have connected relationships with a matched class or grade level. Working with the Kampani family was a way for Kendra to lend her expertise as an artist, deepen her buddy relationship with the 3rd grade, and produce a cultural connection through art. Reflecting, Jennie says, “The result was a festive and bright display. My son was happy to share this part of how his family celebrates together with his new classmates. I loved watching the students work together and seeing their enthusiasm for learning about Diwali.”

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