2010 Marion Cilker Conference

“Exposure to art at a young age leads to a long life of enjoyment of the arts” Ð Marion Cilker

On November 20 th and 21 st, the Lurie College of Education and the California Kindergarten Association, in collaboration with the Santa Clara Office of Education and the SJSU Student Chapter of the National Education Association, co-sponsored “The Cilker Conference for Arts in Education.”

Marion Cilker is an alumna of San Jose State University's College of Education, an artist, and a lover of art. In 2009, Cilker generously endowed two full tuition scholarships for teacher-education students committed to infusing teaching with the arts. Her gift also supports an annual conference free for all SJSU students and teachers from local Title I designated public schools.

The first annual conference offered a series of hands-on workshops to show how art can be used to teach traditional, academic subjects. College of Education Dean Elaine Chin explained, “This wonderful gift will help the Lurie College of Education's mission is to empower graduates with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that insure access to excellence and equity in education for every student in our diverse, technologically complex global community.”

Philosopher of education John Dewey wrote, “Aesthetic experience is the ultimate human experience, and its presence in schools is one of the highest virtues of meaningful education.”

Debra Weller, professional story teller, kindergarten teacher, parenting educator, and President of the California Kindergarten Association, introduced the conference. Deborah engaged us all in the art of storytelling, an art which can improve reading comprehension and writing skills and more. Soon, we discovered that we can teach children to learn and weave meaningful tales out of everyday objects, even socks!

(Footage - Woman: “You have got to see this!”)

Pat Rees-Miller and Zelda LeFrak of the California Kindergarten Association engaged us in all kinds of messy, fun art media, preparing us to teach children to use their most basic tools Ð

their hands Ð while developing number sense at the same time.

Anna Rainville, author and teacher, taught singing games that had us soon smiling while singing and dancing. Through these games, students have fun while developing linguistic, musical and temporal awareness.

Susie Kuhn, a thirty year teaching veteran, lead us in a morning meeting, where students can learn the art of communication beginning with greetings.

Kathleen Olson, theatre arts teacher, prepared us to teach everything, from multiplication tables to reading comprehension through drama games.