Student Issues | Supporting Education http://www.supportingeducation.org All about education, teachers, and those people who lift students up. Thu, 15 Feb 2018 18:49:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 54013835 USC Starts Course to Teach Freshman Students About Self-Care http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/02/14/usc-starts-course-teach-freshman-students-self-care/ http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/02/14/usc-starts-course-teach-freshman-students-self-care/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4433 Beginning college is always a stressful experience, moving from the tightly controlled high school environment into one where no one is going to remind you that essay is due on Monday, or tell you how to begin the networking that will be so crucial before graduation. As a new college student, it’s also hard to […]

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Beginning college is always a stressful experience, moving from the tightly controlled high school environment into one where no one is going to remind you that essay is due on Monday, or tell you how to begin the networking that will be so crucial before graduation. As a new college student, it’s also hard to figure out what self-care strategies will work best for you—or even to remember to do self-care at all.

But USC students now have a way to figure all that out.

At a retreat for University of Southern California staff, faculty members of the school’s Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy were tasked with figuring out ways to better assist freshman students.

What the USC Chan faculty members came up with is a course: Occupational Therapy 101: “Caring for Your Self: Engaging in Healthy Habits and Routines.” In its first years, it is being taught by Ashley Uyeshiro Simon, an assistant professor specializing in lifestyle-based occupational therapy.

“There is a lot of change between external motivation in high school, like your parents telling you to study and then giving you a bedtime at night, versus college where there’s no one to tell you to study. It’s all up to you, and it has to be this intrinsic motivation instead,” Uyeshiro Simon explains in her course, which centers on self-care.

The University of Southern California has begun offering a class to teach new students about self-care, including good study habits and self-care skills to ensure good mental health. Do you think this is an awesome idea or a tool for coddling students who have been harmed by "helicopter parenting?" Visit this blog post and share your comments.

For some students, OT 101 even changed the course of their education.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do coming into college,” said USC freshman Emma Collins. “I started as a business major, but after a couple of weeks in this class, I decided to switch to psychology since it matches with the most occupational therapy prerequisites for the master’s program at USC. I’m minoring in occupational science. After learning about it just a little bit, I knew it was a better fit for me.”

Topics included cover identity and diversity; taking care of one’s body through healthy routines; stress, anxiety, and depression; finding occupations that restore and protect one’s mental health; substance use; time management; forming sustaining relationships; and making assertive connections. All of these things are crucial to help students understand the importance of self-care and get the tools to do that.

Post-secondary schools like USC are seeing higher and higher rates of mental illness among their students, whether it comes from increased diagnoses of what was already there, the stress of an over-connected world, or higher rates of “helicopter parenting” before college. College is a place to learn key self-care skills as well as academic skills.

This course, and the growing spread of ones like it, recognizes that forming and maintaining healthy habits is a skill that can be taught and learned.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Flu Season Is Hitting Schools Hard http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/02/07/flu-season-is-hitting-schools-hard/ http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/02/07/flu-season-is-hitting-schools-hard/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 16:00:12 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4422 The winter of 2017-18 is seeing one of the worst flu seasons on record, with 49 states seeing substantial flu activity and 39 of those seeing “especially high activity,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Schools, which are particularly prone to disease spread due to their crowded conditions and shared desks […]

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The winter of 2017-18 is seeing one of the worst flu seasons on record, with 49 states seeing substantial flu activity and 39 of those seeing “especially high activity,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Schools, which are particularly prone to disease spread due to their crowded conditions and shared desks and materials, have even been closing in at least twelve states. There are just too many teachers and students sick.

For instance, at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Dallas Texas, more than 80 out of the 815 students were ill on Monday, January 29, so officials closed the school for two days and ran a deep-clean to hopefully reduce further spread.

A school district in Gulf County, Florida, reported more than 20 percent of students absent with flu-like symptoms.

Dr. Daniel Jernigan of the CDC says that the culprit this year’s flu season is the H3N2 strain. Similar to the “swine flu” from 2009, it has been hitting patients over 65 hardest, but plenty of younger patients have been affected. Due to a quirk of the disease, it’s also not very susceptible to any of this year’s flu vaccines, with a prevention rate between 10 and 30 percent. (The usual prevention rate is approximately 60 percent, according to the CDC)

Let me stress that this is no reason to not get your flu shot. There are multiple strains every year, and most are less virulent than H3N2. Vaccines are the second most important tactic in curtailing the spread of flu through a population, after isolation.

Schools like Saint Thomas Aquinas that closed got back to business fairly quickly, as soon as enough students and teachers recovered to fill the seats again. However, administrators hope that the brief break is enough to impress upon all how important it is to keep your flu home, and not try to muscle through it.

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Best Shoe Design Programs in the U.S. http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/02/02/best-shoe-design-programs-u-s/ http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/02/02/best-shoe-design-programs-u-s/#respond Fri, 02 Feb 2018 15:26:24 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4429 Obsessed with shoes? Turn your passion into a high-paying career by learning how to design high-performance footwear. Below is a list of reputable colleges that offer shoe design programs. Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
 Location: Portland, OR Last year, PNCA partnered with PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy to offer its first-ever course on shoe creation. […]

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Obsessed with shoes? Turn your passion into a high-paying career by learning how to design high-performance footwear. Below is a list of reputable colleges that offer shoe design programs.

Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)

Location: Portland, OR

Last year, PNCA partnered with PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy to offer its first-ever course on shoe creation. Called PNCA | PENSOLE, this accelerated course takes a hands-on approach to learning the craft of product development.

What makes it so great? The fact that representatives from some of the top footwear brands help mentor and guide students on their journey to creating their own unique shoes. Even cooler: PENSOLE founder D’Wayne Edwards is one of the instructors.

“This intensive is one of a number of new design programs we have under development to expand options for our ambitious students, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with D’Wayne and all of the folks at Pensole,” said PNCA President Don Tuski.

Woodbury University
Location: Burbank, CA

Woodbury University’s fashion design program allows students the opportunity to explore niche markets within the apparel industry, including shoes, lingerie, millinery, and denim. Of special note is the university’s association with several high-end brands, including BCBG, Max Mara, Komarov, and Kenneth Cole. These working relationships allow students the chance to intern at some of the nation’s top-notch fashion brands.

Also of note: in the past, Woodbury students have designed outfits worn by musicians of the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra. The connections the university has built with local organizations and businesses make it a top pick for anyone interested in shoe design.

Fashion Institute of Technology

Location: New York, NY

Did you know that America’s performance athletics footwear business is a $17 billion industry? The recent uptick in demand for fashion-forward sneakers is what inspired the Fashion Institute of Technology to create a Performance Athletic Footwear Certificate Program. This nine-credit course touches on four key components of shoe design: ergonomics, materials, sketching, and drafting.

Although footwear designers are in high demand, the industry is difficult to break into without a formal education. That’s why it is highly recommended that aspiring shoe designers enroll in a program.

Photo by Callie Morgan on Unsplash

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Chronic Absenteeism Plagues D.C. Schools http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/01/31/chronic-absenteeism-plagues-d-c-schools/ http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/01/31/chronic-absenteeism-plagues-d-c-schools/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 16:00:20 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4416 In 2016, Ballou High School in Washington, D.C. made headlines; every one of their 164 seniors had not only graduated, but had been accepted into college. A 100-percent success rate for the school, on the surface. But a closer look, taken in a joint investigation by WAMU and NPR, saw that many of Ballou’s happy […]

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In 2016, Ballou High School in Washington, D.C. made headlines; every one of their 164 seniors had not only graduated, but had been accepted into college. A 100-percent success rate for the school, on the surface. But a closer look, taken in a joint investigation by WAMU and NPR, saw that many of Ballou’s happy graduates should not have walked across that stage. According to attendance records, more than half of the students had missed more than six solid weeks of class and 20 percent had been absent more than half of the entire school year. In other words, these students were being allowed to graduate despite their chronic absenteeism.

In D.C. school districts, official policy is that any student with 30 absences or more shouldn’t be allowed to graduate. By those standards, fewer than sixty of Ballou’s seniors were actually eligible. Teachers reported being pressured to find ways to pass students despite violations. In the end, Ballou’s principal, Yetunde Reeves, was placed on administrative leave.

Sparked by these findings, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser directed the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) to take a hard look at all of the city’s schools. Their initial findings are concerning, to say the least. It seems that chronic absenteeism in D.C. schools is rampant, and students are being graduated anyway.

“The huge investments we have made in our schools only work if students are sitting in the seats,” Bowser said at a news conference on Tuesday, January 16.

Morgan Williams, a physical education teacher at Ballou, told NPR about rosters full of students she only saw at the end of term, when she would be pressured by school administrators into giving them makeup work so they could record a passing grade despite flagrant ignorance of the attendance policy. Other teachers there reported being required to give students at least 50% on assignments they missed entirely.

This kind of academic fraud is meant to make a struggling school look good. Ballou used it to the extent of attracting national attention. Hopefully, that spotlight will be good for all of D.C.’s schools as it causes them to be investigated around chronic absenteeism and reformed.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Online College Is Popular, But Do Your Research Before Enrolling http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/01/24/online-college-research-before-enrolling/ http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/01/24/online-college-research-before-enrolling/#respond Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:00:31 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4411 Online college programs are popular, with nearly two percent of the U.S. population enrolled in at least one course at any given time (according to a 2015 study). They come from public schools, from private non-profits and for-profits, though recent years (and recent financial scandals) have seen a drop in the private for-profit sector, with […]

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Online college programs are popular, with nearly two percent of the U.S. population enrolled in at least one course at any given time (according to a 2015 study). They come from public schools, from private non-profits and for-profits, though recent years (and recent financial scandals) have seen a drop in the private for-profit sector, with the failure of schools like ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges.

But choosing an online college and choosing how to pay for it are both decisions that should be undertaken very carefully. In January 2017, the federal Department of Education measured 8,700 career programs, including many online programs, by the metric of “gainful employment.” That metric failed programs if their graduates on average had to pay more than twelve percent of their post-program income on student loans, or 30 percent of their discretionary income. More than 800 programs failed with another 1,200 right on the line.

A grim truth of online education is that online students are less likely to complete their certification or degree. But they’re still on the hook for their tuition costs. Online programs are likely to require payment in full up front, leading many to take out loans. Any federally accredited program allows students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your need for a federal grant or loan. Beyond that, plenty of people seek private loans.

Students who don’t complete their degrees (like approximately two thirds of online students) account for 60 percent of those who will eventually default on their loans, harming their credit and therefore their options for housing and careers for years to come. So it’s important to carefully consider where you stand when considering options.

Even as an online college student, there are grants and scholarships available. Treat the process the way you would attending a brick and mortar university. Seek local scholarships, review scholarship searches and boards, and ask about work-study programs.

Ultimately, if you are considering online college, make sure to do your research and some soul-searching to see if you believe you can complete a degree or certification solely via the internet.

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

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Schools Failing at Civics Education http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/01/17/schools-failing-civics-education/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:00:41 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4406 Back in 2011, something insidious happened to our schools. Federal funding for civics education was quietly removed from the national budget for education. One year later, only nine states required any basic understanding in civics as a prerequisite for graduation. Civics education may not prepare you for a job. But it prepares you to be […]

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Back in 2011, something insidious happened to our schools. Federal funding for civics education was quietly removed from the national budget for education. One year later, only nine states required any basic understanding in civics as a prerequisite for graduation.

Civics education may not prepare you for a job. But it prepares you to be a citizen, informed about the government that affects almost every aspect of your daily life. Informed about the votes you have a chance to cast.

2011 wasn’t the death knell for civics education. As early as 2006, a study by George Washington University found that only about one in four high school seniors were proficient in civics in government. Imagine that. Only 27 percent of new and soon-to-be voters with any idea what they were doing. Is it any wonder we have a voter turnout that struggles to stay above 50 percent? (And that’s in presidential elections. All other elections have much, much smaller turnout percentages.)

This year, a study by the University of Pennsylvania found that only one in four Americans can name all three branches of the government. A larger fraction, one in three, couldn’t name any, nor could they name any of the rights protected by the First Amendment. Watching a president declare publicly that he thinks news critical of him should be banned, this is terrifying. People who do not know their rights can’t defend them. People who do not know what democracy is cannot defend it.

This is an illiteracy that will cost our country for generations. A population who doesn’t know how a government should work for them cannot make informed decisions about who to elect to that government, and then cannot hold accountable those who fail in their duty. Public schools, which we trust to turn our youth into informed citizens, are failing in civics education across the nation.

Photo: Shutterstock

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STOPit App Designed to Help Students Fight Bullying http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/01/10/stopit-app-designed-help-students-fight-bullying/ Wed, 10 Jan 2018 15:00:20 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4399 “I want to know if something isn’t right at Mt. Juliet High School,” said Principal Mel Brown, about the new app he’s using in his school to let students speak up anonymously about bullying. STOPit, an app developed by Todd Schnobel, calls itself a “catalyst for cultural transformation.” Inspired by the bullying-induced suicide of 15-year-old […]

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“I want to know if something isn’t right at Mt. Juliet High School,” said Principal Mel Brown, about the new app he’s using in his school to let students speak up anonymously about bullying.

STOPit, an app developed by Todd Schnobel, calls itself a “catalyst for cultural transformation.” Inspired by the bullying-induced suicide of 15-year-old Amanda Todd in 2012, it is a simple platform to allow communities to report problem members. In Tennessee, where Mt. Juliet High School stands, around 80 schools, mostly middle and high schools, are using the app.

STOPit gives their students a way to report incidents of bullying to teachers and school resource officers without having to risk retaliation. It isn’t restricted to office hours or school days, either.

“If used correctly it can be helpful,” or “a real time-killer,” when the app is misused, said Brown. There are few ways to prevent students from making spurious accusations or simply using the app to send nonsense. But good reviews outweigh the bad.

Donna Wright, Director of Schools in Wilson County, supported the introduction of the app to all four high schools in the district, including training for the teachers and designated respondents. It was she who arranged for its funding via Wilson County Schools’ insurance provider.

STOPit functions like an online chat, allowing text, videos, and pictures to be sent, and stores records of every report or interaction, which allows schools to keep comprehensive records.

“This is a really good way for people who are bystanders to bullying or who are being bullied themselves to have a place to report and say what is going on,” said Georgia Latta, a Mt. Juliet High senior.

“The anonymous part is really important,” said another classmate, junior Alaina Walsh. “It’s easier for teenagers because we’re always on our phones.” She also called the app “comforting to students.”

“What we’ve found is that it’s a food in the door whereas otherwise students might not say anything,” said Maury County Public Schools Supervisor of Counseling and Mental Health Dr. Robb Killen. It’s well documented that the effects of bullying last far beyond childhood, so anything schools can do to put a stop to it is a step in the right direction.

Would you use STOPit in your schools? Do you think it has the potential to be helpful or more of a time-waster? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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6 Protips for Choosing a College http://www.supportingeducation.org/2018/01/03/6-protips-choosing-a-college/ Wed, 03 Jan 2018 15:00:26 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4390 Guess what? You’re in luck! You’ve been accepted by several colleges. But now you have to choose which one you’re going to attend. There are a lot of factors at work in figuring out which college or university will provide the best experience for you, both educationally and culturally. Here are my tips, based on […]

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Guess what? You’re in luck! You’ve been accepted by several colleges. But now you have to choose which one you’re going to attend. There are a lot of factors at work in figuring out which college or university will provide the best experience for you, both educationally and culturally. Here are my tips, based on experience, on choosing a college.

Think about geography

You definitely want to have a good academic program that will give you the credentials you need to succeed in your career field. But you also need to think about where the college is located. For example, do you want to live in a warm, sunny area, or would you prefer to live in the snowy skiing country?

Consider the culture

What are you looking for in terms of culture? When choosing a college, think about whether you’re more of a “country mouse” or a “city mouse” before you make your choice. If you don’t think you’d be comfortable in a large city, an urban college may not be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you’ve spent most of your life feeling stifled in the country, go for a small (or large) city for more cultural opportunities. Remember also that college is both an education and a journey, and going outside your comfort zone can be a learning experience in itself.

Get my six protips on how to choose a college in this post.

Size matters

Would you prefer the anonymity—and possibly an increased array of opportunities—offered by large institution? Or would you prefer the chance to have personalized attention and small class sizes? Speaking personally, I grew up in a small town where everyone knew me, but I felt a lot like an outsider there, and I craved the opportunity to meet more kindred spirits when I went to college. Because of that, I opted for a larger school when choosing a college.

Cost counts

Not all colleges and universities have the same tuition or financial aid opportunities. Don’t reject a school with high tuition, because those schools often have larger endowment funds and may be able to offer financial aid packages that will have you responsible for about the same amount as a less expensive school. State universities often offer reduced tuition for in-state students, which may make them more affordable. Just consider the whole financial aid package and what costs you’ll be responsible for when choosing a college.

Consider your housing options

Some colleges and universities offer ample on-campus housing for incoming freshman students, while others don’t. Think about whether you’re going to have to search for an apartment or roommates when you go to your school of choice, and find out what you can expect to pay for your housing.

Go with your gut

If you’ve visited colleges to which you’ve been accepted, you’ll have gotten a feeling about them based on your experiences there. If you’re torn between two—or several—institutions, allow your intuition to guide you.

Take these six things into account when choosing a college, and the odds are very good that you’ll end up making a choice that works for you in lots of ways.

Photo: Shutterstock

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GOP Tax Plan Is Terrible for College Students http://www.supportingeducation.org/2017/12/20/gop-tax-plan-terrible-college-students/ Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:00:56 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4374 Approximately seven out of every 10 2016 high school graduates enrolled in college, whether that meant private school, public university, community college, or Ivy League. And it looks like that trend is going to continue this year. In all, 20.4 million students are attending across all years of secondary education, a 25 percent increase since […]

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Approximately seven out of every 10 2016 high school graduates enrolled in college, whether that meant private school, public university, community college, or Ivy League. And it looks like that trend is going to continue this year. In all, 20.4 million students are attending across all years of secondary education, a 25 percent increase since 2000. Ever increasingly, a college education is a necessary key to even basic careers.

The new GOP tax plan threatens to gate up that avenue to success for many. Its effects on the average taxpayer are too many to enumerate or, honestly, easily understand, but the impact it will have on the college-bound comes primarily from three avenues, mostly in the draft of the bill that was passed in the House of Representatives.

The bill that passed the House would have eliminated all tax deductions on interest paid to student loans. The Senate bill preserves this deduction for interest under $2,500.

Graduate students commonly are able to study through tuition waivers granted by the universities who benefit from their research. The House version of the bill would make those waivers, often worth tens of thousands of dollars, into taxable income, even though the students who receive them are usually living on small academic stipends, which are already taxed.

Private college endowments could wind up being taxed. Endowments are the charitable waivers by which private colleges and universities allow students to attend who could never begin to afford their fees. Both the House and Senate passed this inclusion, though the Senate specified that it would only apply to endowments valued at $500,000 or more. This limits this taxation to 25 of the most prestigious universities in the country (including all eight members of the Ivy League) and puts them out of the reach of anyone who can’t simply pay for their education out of pocket.

It’s still not clear which version of the GOP tax plan will wind up being passed. Both versions have staunch advocates. The Senate’s bill is slightly more compassionate, but still stands to gut the safety net for those who need college but can’t simply write a check, making it once again a rich man’s privilege.

What do you think? Is the GOP tax plan going to affect your, your children’s, or your students’ college plans? Please sound off in the comments.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Why Children Should Be Exposed to Art Galleries at a Young Age http://www.supportingeducation.org/2017/12/15/children-benefit-exposure-art-galleries/ Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:24:54 +0000 http://www.supportingeducation.org/?p=4379 In 2014, British artist Jake Chapman famously decried taking children to art galleries, adding that it was a “total waste of time.” In an interview with The Independent, Chapman went as far as to call parents “arrogant” for thinking their children could comprehend the likes of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Unfortunately, Mr. Chapman missed […]

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In 2014, British artist Jake Chapman famously decried taking children to art galleries, adding that it was a “total waste of time.” In an interview with The Independent, Chapman went as far as to call parents “arrogant” for thinking their children could comprehend the likes of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.

Unfortunately, Mr. Chapman missed the point. Because while it’s certainly true that children will struggle to understand complex works, this is precisely what makes it such a prime teaching opportunity.

When children don’t understand something, they ask questions…lots of questions. And as any educator knows, this isn’t something to be frowned upon, but rather encouraged.

Better yet, parents don’t need to take their children to expensive museums in order to foster this type of curiosity. Exposing children to small, local galleries has the same effect. In fact, many highly acclaimed art institutions like PNCA host free exhibits that are welcoming to all ages.

Even if an exhibit is open to all ages, that doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t still be prepared. Many of the works on display may contain nudity or other graphic depictions. However, as Zoe Williams of The Guardian points out, this isn’t necessarily something to shy away from.

In October 2014, Williams took her two young children and their friend Thomas to Tate Britain in open defiance of Jake Chapman’s advice. Thomas, she writes, took a “puckish delight in pointing out everything that either was a naked person or looked like one,” while her son Thurston was “keenly vigilant in case I saw any penises.”

But nudity is a part of life, and exposing children to that in an artistic setting can yield many benefits. For one, it opens up a discussion around nudity as it relates to creative expression rather than just being an object of sexual desire. Furthermore, it teaches children that nakedness is not something to be ashamed of, but rather celebrated. Art galleries can present a great learning opportunity when it comes to this subject.

Of course, these are still highbrow concepts that young minds may not be able to grasp just yet—but that’s okay. As Williams points out, part of the beauty of it is that children are free to take whatever meaning from it they want, even if that means not getting any meaning from it at all.

“They don’t have that adult need to interpret, or be seen to interpret,” writes Williams. “And that gives them more freedom to immerse themselves, or not, as the work takes them.”

Some children will take a liking to art—others won’t. But they won’t know until they’re given the opportunity to explore this realm, which is precisely why parents should take their kids to art galleries.

Photo by Vincent Tantardini on Unsplash

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