HOW KIDS TEACHING KIDZ WAS BORN:
Led by Amie Densmore, the project began in 2003, among 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students teaching each other about Zero-Tolerance for Bullying. As part of the workshop, approximately 180 Connecticut students were inspired by Ms. Densmore to produce 24” x 36″ posters. Using visualizing skills and a collage technique with unusual papers, the students focused on the theme of bullying incorporating their own experiences and views. Once completed, their exceptional artwork was then exhibited locally and statewide. First, their work was displayed at the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford CT for three months, followed by an exhibition at their local court house and U.S. Post Office. Finally the tour ended over a year later with 10 selected CT state public schools.
TEACHING THE TEACHERS:
The success of the workshops and subsequent exhibitions inspired Ms. Densmore to begin providing instructional workshops to teachers at the New England League of Middle Schools Regional Conferences (NELMS). Over the next two years, she offered workshops at three seminars to those who wished to learn about the benefits of using the power of the ARTS through the Kids Teaching Kidz (KTK) program. By the end of the third seminar many teachers from all five New England states had participated.
At one NELMS Conference, the Principal of the Hartford Transitional Academy, a school dedicated to students that have committed “acts of violence,” participated in the Kids Teaching Kidz seminar. At the end of the seminar, he was inspired to ask that the KTK program be taught to the students of his school. It was agreed, and over the following two consecutive years, KTK and the principal were overjoyed with the response of the students, the staff and the community!
KTK IN INDIA:
In the Fall of 2007, during a month long leave of absence, Ms. Densmore brought the student artwork from KTK’s second workshop, “Kids Teaching Kidz on Global Issues” to 15 magnet schools in India. There she taught KTK workshops to both teachers and students on Global Warming and Bullying, culminating in 40 student posters being accepted by the Mayor of Delhi for exhibit at the Capital.
The series of workshops proved so successful that they led to an invitation to be a keynote speaker and present KTK at the Harmony in Education for a Diverse World Conference in Delhi, India. The assembled educators all affirmed the value of the Kids Teaching Kidz workshops to help solve social issues using the ARTS and its importance for both teachers and students in India.
After retiring as a public school educator in 2009, Ms. Densmore redirected her efforts to create a six week educational tour for herself that Fall to India. Her goal was to present Kids Teaching Kidz, for FREE, in different demographic, educational situations and log the reactions of the students as well as the opinions of the educational staff to her interactive ARTS workshops. She traveled by train, plane and taxi from the north of India to the south, and back to the north again, concluding her presentations and workshops to schools in the foothills of the Himalayas with the assistances of her 24 year old daughter (one of her many KTK fans.) In total she conducted eight KTK workshops and made ten additional presentations, with requests to return and create afterschool clubs tied to the web.