For the past two years, the district focus of Indian Mills School has been “We Are Family” whose mission is to enhance the relationships and interactions of students, staff, parents, and the greater school community, with an emphasis on kindness and acceptance of all, regardless of race, gender, background, or disability. This is being taught, reinforced, and presented across the curriculum through all grades and specialty classes, with the students’ social and emotional wellness in mind.
As an extension of this topic, during the art program last year, IMS art students learned about women artists throughout art history, and connected these women and other minorities through their hands-on creation of a Kindness and Diversity Quilt. This project aimed to unify our young students and to help them understand and accept the growing diverse population in our community and across our nation.
Young Audiences, based in Princeton, NJ, offered an Artist in Resident program for the elementary school. As part of this grant, artist and quilter Gabrielle Kanter worked alongside the students in kindergarten through fourth grade to assist them in the creation of a quilt that will hang prominently in the cafeteria at IMS. Ms. Kanter, the IMS faculty and staff, and parent volunteers worked with IMS students to create, support, and assist in designing their own hands and words that represented individuality, diversity, and acceptance. These artistic creations were then sewn and mounted on fabric with a symbolic representation of the IMS school building and the community by the gifted and creative Ms. Gabrielle Kanter.