PALMDALE – With classrooms and curriculum looking very different than when they were in school, many parents struggle with supporting their children in their education. Some parents face the added challenge of having grown up with fewer educational opportunities than their children.
To help in this effort, Palmdale School District invited more than 100 parents to Golden Poppy School recently for a workshop on creativity and communication led by well-known artist Simón Silva.
“I want to give them the opportunity to rethink what education is,” said Silva, “as well as the importance of the application of creativity and the arts, specifically in the 21st century.”
The workshop, held this past Saturday, had parents seated at tables heaped with art supplies. Silva spoke on how to be better parents and mentors by cultivating creativity, and parents were invited to create and communicate through different artistic mediums and to interpret art.
For Silva, the ultimate goal of the workshop was “to get these parents to believe in themselves. If you have a group of parents who believe in themselves and look at themselves differently, they’re going to be much more involved in their kid’s education.”
Silva had parents not only learn about the creative process, but also engage in it, as he guided them through exercises from his book, “Cultivate a Creative Mind.”
From modeling babies in Play-Doh to building a cardboard box into whatever they could think up, Silva had parents pushing to express themselves in new and creative ways.
Palmdale School District parent Alma McClaughlin attended the workshop and came away with fresh ideas.
“Silva explained why creativity is so important,” said McClaughlin. “We need to be more creative to get better opportunities in life.”
In one of his final exercises, Silva had parents draw a family portrait using objects or animals to represent family members. Among the portraits drawn was a vase of flowers that one participant shared with the group. She explained that the flowers represented her children and the water represented her husband, the family provider. She was proud to point out that the vase holding them together represented her.
Rosalia Damian, who attended the workshop with her husband Salvador Pena, drew three hands, each a different color. Damian explained, “For me, it is the support and union of our family.”
“It gave us ideas and help with our child,” said Damian, after the workshop ended.
Pena added, “It is all for the success of the students.”
“We host workshops like these to help our parents get more involved and engaged with their children and our schools,” said Palmdale School District Director of Academic Achievement Geoff Brown.
Education is a partnership between our students, their families and our schools. Palmdale School District is committed to strengthening and enhancing this partnership.”
For Silva, creativity is at the heart of this academic partnership and an essential component of Common Core.
“It’s about getting these kids to be critical thinkers, problem solvers. More hands on stuff, more practical stuff,” said Silva. “That’s always been the case with the arts.”
The workshop was provided free of charge to Palmdale School District parents, and included a copy of Silva’s book and basic art supplies for each parent. On-site childcare was also provided to help more parents be able to attend. Silva delivered the workshop in Spanish, with translators available for English speakers in attendance.
“It can be a challenge to effectively communicate with our students and our parents,” explained Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado. “We hope to open new channels of communication as we invite our parents into our schools to learn with us how to be better providers for our students.”
Silva will return to Golden Poppy School on Friday, Feb. 13, for a special assembly for sixth graders, followed by another at Quail Valley School, later that day.