We embody a unique vision of arts-based education centering specifically on folk arts. Folk artists work in our school as artists in residence. They work with teachers and students to teach their craft and to tie folk arts to the curriculum. In their classes students may:
• Read or write about a traditional art form or the culture from which that form comes;
• Write the stories of the dances they are learning;
• Conduct community surveys to find people with local knowledge;
• Record and write oral histories; or
• Use their knowledge of textiles to define mathematical concepts such as symmetry and measurement.
Folk arts can take on many forms from gardening to dance to martial arts. Folk arts are bound together by particular defining features:
• They represent time-honored vernacular education systems;
• They function as ways of teaching and passing on valued knowledge;
• They are owned by and known within the communities of our students; and
• These arts are connected to community values and convey meaning to people.
We focus on folk arts because they represent collective action and shared values. The use of folk arts embeds into the life and culture of the school the very ideals which are most meaningful to the communities themselves. Just as children need to be physically healthy, they also need to be culturally healthy. Folk arts serve as vehicles to bridge children to elders, school to community, and school community members to each other.
In addition, all FACTS students receive weekly instruction in our regular art and music classes from certified teachers with many years of experience as arts educators.