KTBA Sends Teacher to Education Through Music Colloquium 2017!
Napa, CA – Thanks to your donations, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation will be sending one special educator to the Education Through Music Colloquium 2017 at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Although a lot of emphasis is placed on students and the difficulties they endure from the lack of musical opportunities, they aren’t the only victims in this fight for music education programming. The teachers – those gifted educators that graduate with degrees to brighten their futures – often end up being the only source of funding for their programs. The reason for this imbalance is because parents have chosen to abstain from taking active roles in their children’s classrooms, there isn’t a parent or booster organization at all or (more likely) the administration doesn’t have the funds to spare in comparison to other programs.
Ms. Joy Greenlee, the preschool teacher at Napa Preschool Program
SH: Please give us a short description of your background in music education.
JG: I began taking Education Through Music winter courses about 5 years ago, and have attended colloquium 5-6 times since then. So far, I’ve only been able to attend colloquia that are within the State of California, as I could not afford to pay travel and lodging expenses to go out of state. I am working on receiving mentorship with ETM in my classroom setting, so that I can better implement it in my classroom.
SH: How long have you been employed with the Napa Preschool Program? What changes have you sustained while working there?
JG: This is my eighth year with the Napa Preschool Program. Changes have included the fact that we now receive much less funding for classroom supplies than we used to have available, while we are still expected to provide the same quality of experiences for our students. All of the teachers at my site spend a lot of our own money for supplies and materials in order to make this happen. Federal and State policies are moving increasingly toward including children with special needs in regular classrooms, which has affected the placements available to our students as they move toward kindergarten. Another change we are becoming accustomed to is the use of technology in our classrooms. We are now provided with iPads for teacher and students use, and are being asked to implement them in our lesson plans.
SH: What is the general socio-demographic of your students?
JG: In order to qualify for a State-funded preschool slot, families must qualify as low-income. We are also allowed to enroll students with special needs who do not meet these guidelines. Many of our students are double-qualified (meaning they both have special needs, and come from low-income families). Also, a lot of our families are not English-speaking, with the majority of these coming from Mexico.
SH: How did you hear about Education Through Music?
JG: I heard about ETM when I was taking a Music and Movement for Young Children class at our local community college. My teacher invited a guest teacher from ETM to come and share with us. She played and sang with us, and I was immediately hooked! I remember going up to her after class and telling her, “I want your job!” I drove to a neighboring county to take my first winter courses there, as we did not have them here in Napa at the time. Now that we have winter courses here, I promote them with my co-workers and the parents of my students.
SH: What does this colloquium mean to you? How do you foresee this experience impacting your students?
JG: Colloquium is always a highlight of my year. It is an opportunity for me to interact with other professionals from education-related fields, such as teachers, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and resource specialists. We not only receive valuable information, but we also have the chance to actually sing and play with the ETM repertoire, as well as learn about the challenges and rewards of using ETM with children in many different settings. One of the best experiences in Colloquium is always the observation sessions, where we have the chance to watch master ETM teachers work with “real” children of various ages, both with and without disabilities.
One of the reasons it is so valuable for me to go to Colloquium is the fact that I work very closely with therapists in my classroom setting, as we use an integrated therapy model to meet the needs of our students. Having the chance to attend a cross-disciplinary learning experience such as Colloquium helps me to understand the unique perspectives that come from each approach to reaching children.
SH: What do you see as the “end-game” for your students at the end of the year? What skills do you wish to have instilled in them as they graduate to higher grade levels?
JG: The “end-game” is for my students to have safe, non-threatening experiences through music which allow them to not only appreciate the beauty of the music itself, but enrich their ability to learn by stimulating them with the “whole-brain” approach to learning that ETM provides.
Ms. Greenlee expresses her gratitude:
Thank you so much for your generosity in supporting my Education Through Music Colloquium experience! This is not only personally rewarding for me, as I learn how to apply my love of music to the classroom, but has a profound effect on the development of the young children in my classroom.
I am excited by the opportunity to interact with children at a time in their lives when their minds are expanding so rapidly. I realize that they probably will not remember their experience here specifically; however the investment that my staff and I make in them at this time in their lives has the potential to pay huge dividends later on in their education careers and beyond.
I am thrilled and humbled by the generosity of the Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation in allowing me to attend the Education Through Music Colloquium in Illinois this year. The entire experience, from writing the donorschoose.org proposal, to speaking with the KTBA representative, has been simple and enjoyable. I look forward to a continuing relationship with both donorschoose.org and KTBA!
Every week, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation donates to a music program in need of music instruments, supplies, music and more.
How will you make your impact felt? What can you do for music education?