Mississauga: As autumn approaches, kids and teachers are getting ready to head back to school and the team at MonstrARTity is gearing up for another successful year of the Monster Arts for Youth (M.A.Y.) program. Originally created to celebrate South Asian Heritage month in May, the program is now available throughout the entire school year to celebrate South Asian arts and diversity all year long. Under the M.A.Y. program, schools are able to bring professional, world-class artists into the classroom to teach students about South Asian film, poetry, Bollywood dancing, visual arts, and music at no cost to schools or students. The 2017-2018 edition of the program marks the fifth season of cross-cultural workshops in elementary, middle, and secondary schools across the Peel region. Thanks to funding by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Port Credit Community Foundation, and TD, Peel schools receive their first two workshops for free and half off all further workshops.
“This program is for students of all backgrounds to be able to learn something new, be encouraged to think creatively, and to celebrate learning in the arts. The M.A.Y. program encourages diversity and inclusivity for all students, and we’re happy to bring workshops to Peel schools for free. ” says Vikas Kohli, founder of the M.A.Y. program.
Curated by professional artists, the M.A.Y. program is the perfect way to get kids excited about the arts and to learn about their own culture and the cultures of their classmates in a fun, approachable way. Focused on inclusivity and creative-thinking, M.A.Y. workshops provide an unprecedented way to break cultural silos in the classroom. The program exposes students from a wide range of backgrounds to South Asian arts as a means to integrate cultures, introduce students to different art forms, and most importantly, express what they’ve learned in their own voice. M.A.Y. workshops are now available in 258 schools in the Peel District School Board, reaching over 150,000 students. Since running the program, teachers and students alike have enjoyed the workshops.
M.A.Y. Workshop at a middle school
“[The M.A.Y. program is] very important in order to foster an accepting and inclusive community. Not all schools are culturally diverse so it is nice to be able to expose them to programs like this to develop awareness and appreciation of other cultures. “ – Samantha Graydon, Caledon East PS
“It is always difficult for teachers to ensure that culturally relevant material is covered in a professional way, we don’t often have access to what we need. To have this program relieves our stress and benefits the students” – Janet Clattenburg, Derry West Village Public School
“It is great to be able to celebrate our multiculturalism through a variety of medium like dance. Many students have different backgrounds and being able to connect with their culture through dance is fantastic. There is also a connection with the Ontario curriculum so it is a great addition for us, the teachers, to have professional dancers coming to show us how to do certain dance.” – Caroline Loh, Erin Centre Middle School
For more information about the M.A.Y. program, or for teachers looking to book a workshop, contact MAY@monstrartity.com.