Does your child’s class or school have a favourite book or story that is read to the students to re-enforce the values and morals that the school promotes? I recently came across the story of a school in Indianna in the US where the art teacher was the brains behind a gorgeous student art installation inspired by the book “Only one you” by Linda Kranz.

Each class in the primary school of 750 students read the book with their art teacher and then every student was given a rock to paint with their own design relating to the book, re-enforcing each child’s uniqueness and that everyone has something to contribute to this world.

Once painted, all the stones were laid out in a path at the entrance of the school to create a colourful and inspiring addition to their school. It got me thinking about how amazing a feeling for the kids to see their rocks all come together and impress upon them that they are an important member of their community and without their rock, the path would not be complete.

I also started thinking about other ways that this type of themed project could be carried out for those schools that may not have room for an installation such as a path and how it could be funded.

The primary school in Indiana was able to secure funding through a local grant that they applied for, so it’s worth looking into grants that are available in your area to see if a community project like this is eligible. If you can’t find a grant, talk to a local paint company or landscaping company about sponsoring your project. Some of the other ideas that I’ve got listed for you are low cost but will require some organisation and coordination.

Other projects could include:

  • A painted wall, mosaic or mural where each student can contribute – If you’ve got a big old boring brick wall, think about transforming it into a work of art. Perhaps a tree whose number of leaves increases with each student or a colourful handprint of each student. Names could be written on each leaf or hand and you can even include the staff too. Or have a giant jigsaw puzzle where each student can design their own piece.
  • Self portrait tiled wall – each student draws a self portrait on a tile which is continually added to. It doesn’t even have to be a self portrait especially if you have a particular theme or school motto. Just something for the kids to represent themselves.
  • If you have a large area that you can fit all the students into. Get them to form the numbers of the year (eg. 2018) and get a photo. It might take a bit of planning and practice but will make for a great memory which can be displayed in the library or school hall. You can replicate this each year and add to the collection.
  • For smaller schools – If you’ve got a meaningful quote or school motto, have each student decorate a tile for each letter of the quote or motto.
  • A circle mural – give each student a quarter of a circle to decorate as they like and then put all the circles back together to form a beautiful and unique mural.

The great thing about some of these ideas is that they can be ever changing, meaning you can add to the more permanent installations each year and the non-permanent ones can be re-created or changed to try something different them each year as students move on from the school. This can also give graduating students a meaningful ‘leaving’ gift as they can take their contribution with them and it will be replaced by the incoming students in the following year. It’s a fun and artistic way to build a sense of community and belonging to your school.

Regina Underwood
Fundraising Whisperer Freelance Writer
Regina is a mother of three and a P&C President. She knows firsthand the ups and downs of volunteering!

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