After an 18-month hiatus, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IAS is pleased to be back in the community with our PNC Grow Up Great Grant® funded program, Itsy Studio: In the Community! This program brings visual arts engagement to area early childhood centers and focuses on emotion recognition and expression. “Emotional well-being and growth are critically important for young children,” says IAS Executive Director, Laura Jaster. “And now, in light of the upheaval caused by the global pandemic, it seems more important than ever to provide opportunities for children to learn about emotions and express their feelings in a fun and constructive way.”

During the 2021-2022 academic year, IAS will bring Itsy Studio to Sarah Raymond School and Brigham School –  leading their 4 and 5 year old students in a series of 20 lessons that focus on the six core emotions: happy, sad, calm, angry, excited, and surprised. In each lesson, an IAS art educator will introduce a new emotion and guide students through an art making experience that gives them the opportunity to visually express the day’s emotion for themselves. In every lesson, young artists are able to practice communicating their feelings both visually and verbally. As they make unique works of art next to their peers they see how the same emotion can be expressed in different ways, helping to increase their understanding and recognition of each emotion.

“Participants in Itsy Studio during the 2019-2020 year showed a marked increase in their ability to talk about emotions in relation to art and their ability to express emotion,” says Jaster. “I am excited to see how this year’s participants grow throughout the program and I can’t wait to see what amazing works of art they create!”

Thank you to the PNC Grow Up Great Grant® for financially supporting Itsy Studio: In the Community and to Sarah Raymond School and Brigham School for allowing us to work with your students.