CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - This year, a non-profit called Engaging Creative Minds will be working in about 30 schools throughout the Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester District 2 school districts.
The goal is to get kids actively learning through hands-on activities, with a focus on the arts.
“The teachers work with the curriculum together so we can create unique lessons that maybe had never been taught before, like learning about force and motion through dance or the solar system through visual arts," Engaging Creative Minds Executive Director Robin Berlinsky said.
On Thursday morning, several students at Sanders Clyde Elementary School got a special surprise when some players from the RiverDogs showed up to help with the project.
“We were so excited the RiverDogs came and helped us today,” Berlinsky said. The students used reading and math skills to put together a few picnic benches which will be used during outside reading time. The baseball team is taking part in the 2019 New York Yankees’ HOPE Week Initiative. It’s a week-long community engagement program where RiverDogs players, coaches and front office staff members make community service appearances throughout the Lowcountry.
Sanders Clyde Elementary School Principal Janice Malone said this kind of learning is desperately needed in the school.
“It’s such an awesome experience for our children to be actively engaged in the arts, and at the same time learning reading, and math, and writing,” Malone said. She said it’s important to hit “all the South Carolina standards but do it in a way that’s fun and engaging and encourages critical thinking.”
Engaging Creative Minds focuses on a STEAM-based curriculum which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. This year, the non-profit is partnering with organizations like Google, Blackbaud, Bosch and Boeing to bring its employees into the schools. They plan to help teach curriculum and show how what the kids learn in the classroom can transfer to the real world.
This year, Engaging Creative Minds expects to work with over 11,500 students and 450 teachers.
“The arts are so important in classrooms because they do teach to the whole child,” Berlinsky said. “And the kids have so much fun. They don’t even know they’re learning and that’s truly the way for them to understand and retain the info longer.”