MISSOULA – Our first installment of Arts and Education takes us to Cold Springs Elementary School in Missoula for a little map making.
We stopped by a third-grade class where it was a good day. Why you ask? Because it’s time for art class.
Monica Thompson is one of only three art teachers in the Missoula elementary school system. So that means the class here at Cold Springs will only have about 10 art classes this year due to her time being split between four other schools.
That means that each class period is packed with information, “so they will work with clay, printmaking, painting, collage, mixed media and things like that,” Thompson said.
“We have a third-grade class here at Cold Springs and we are going to be working on map making,” Thompson explained on the day we visited.
“Part of the national standard is to construct a map that is part of the everyday life. So I am going to have them come up with their version of Missoula,” Thompson added.
That may not seem like a huge deal, but as the kids were working and using the visual arts to construct their maps, they were — maybe without knowing — preparing themselves for challenges they may face later down the road.
“These experiences help them sort through, make choices, think critically, work together, see things from another perspective. So tolerance, understanding, critical thinking — I could go on,” Thompson concluded.