This year marked the second year for the It’s a WRAP! (Writing, Reading, Art and Performance) summer program at School on Wheels’ partner, Salvation Army Barton Center downtown. This year the program’s theme was My Life, My History and used poetry to engage 22 kids, ages 5-16, in exploring this theme. Over the course of five weeks in July, the students in our summer enrichment program enjoyed a multi-faceted poetry and art experience, which helped prevent summer learning loss, gave our kids a safe and productive place to be two nights a week, and helped build their confidence.

School on Wheels partnered with Asante Children’s Theatre and Brick Street Poetry to provide our kids a well-rounded experience focused on arts, education and performance. Daniel Martin of Asante worked with our students on self-expression and performance while new partner, Brick Street Poetry brought poets like former Indiana Poet Laureate Joyce Brinkman and other notables to work with our kids on different types of poetry. Both Asante and Brick Street helped bring poetry alive!

These in-depth collaborations aided our students’ understanding and appreciation of all different types of poetry while reading, writing and hand-on art projects further enhanced these lessons. Students read poetry with their tutors, developed poems of their own and also created poetry art journals with the help of our Program Assistant and office art expert, Kris. The journal pages that the students created, which corresponded to poems that they were writing with the guest poets, allowed them to express themselves using a variety of mediums and techniques – pages ranged from painting on transparency paper and creating color collages to stamping on fabric and using the iPad to create photo art from their own faces.

On the last night of the program, we celebrated all of their hard work at the end-of-summer celebration where the children displayed their art journals, performed spoken poetry and recited some of their own poems before an audience of tutors, staff and parents.

Not only was the end of summer performance a huge success, but the results from the program were as well. 100% of the students in the program scored 90% or higher on the post-program assessment! All the children surveyed enjoyed the program and would participate in a similar program next summer.

Everyone was tremendously proud of the summer accomplishments of our amazing kids!

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