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By Lauren Gordon, Marketing + Design
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Green Hill Center for NC Art has been awarded $20,000 from Lincoln Financial Group. This grant will support Green Hill Center’s Read, Yellow and Blue early childhood program in school year 2013-2014.

Read, Yellow and Blue is a program of Green Hill Center for under-served pre-school age children which offers age-appropriate enriched cultural arts curriculum that supports school readiness. Through the program, children are invited to experience The Gallery at Green Hill Center where they gain observation and interpretive skills. “The kids are asked to decipher and decode symbols, promoting the same skills used in reading and writing. We live in a world filled with visual symbols and this program enhances visual thinking strategies. The heart and soul of what we do is self-initiated art making which is very hard to achieve in other settings and is essential in the development of critical thinkers,” explained Jaymie Meyer, Director Youth Programs and Outreach at Green Hill Center for NC Art.

When touring Green Hill Center through the Read, Yellow and Blue program, groups explore and participate in activities in The Gallery, then move into ArtQuest, the Center’s award-winning education program for children and families.  Children freely express themselves with art mediums such as clay, paint and collage. They are able to create as well as collaborate with other children and adults.  After a child completes their piece of work, a facilitator records the child’s dictation about their artwork so they can take it home to “read” to their parents and caregivers. Meyers said, “In ArtQuest children have the opportunity to engage in an activity that they have complete control over. We help them articulate the thought process behind their work by using the phrase “Tell me about that”. The magic of it is in the telling part - it gives you access to what is happening inside of their heads.”

Through Lincoln Financial Group support, Green Hill Center is able to strengthen the Read, Yellow and Blue program.  Currently the program serves Guilford Child Development’s Head Start and Learning Together programs.  With this support, Read, Yellow and Blue will extend its services to United Way of Greater Greensboro’s Thriving at Three initiative to directly and positively impact more pre-K children in Guilford County. “Thriving at Three operates under the premise that children who are healthy– physically and emotionally–by age three are more likely to be successful in school and in life,” says Traci McLemore, manager of community impact initiatives at United Way of Greater Greensboro. “Our programming is vital to strengthening our community because it is focused on supporting parents in their role as their child’s first and most important teacher.”

Green Hill Center focuses on early childhood because it is the foundation for in-school success based on AchieveGuilford’s research.  During school year 2011-2012, Green Hill Center served 399 children from Guilford Child Development’s Head Start through Read, Yellow and Blue. In school year 2012-2013, this number grew to 1354 children from Guilford Child Development Head Start and Learning Together.  This year, Green Hill Center will provide the opportunity to visit ArtQuest with a special “Family Pass” to eliminate barriers that may exist for families. Laura Way, Executive Director at Green Hill Center said, “The way we partner with organizations allows us to be more effective because we are combining our strengths and theirs; not reinventing the wheel.  Head Start, Learning Together and Thriving at Three are programs that are already established; what Green Hill Center is doing is using our resource of arts education to add another layer to their efficacy in terms of preparing young children for success before they enter Kindergarten.” 

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