Today more than ever, we look to our schools to produce creative thinkers who are ready to solve challenging problems. The Herzfeld Foundation believes that strong early childhood experiences and high quality arts education are essential to helping students fulfill their potential.
Early Childhood Education
Babies are born learning. Research tells us that the early years are a critical time to prepare children for school readiness and success in life. Because of the important brain development occurring in the first five years of life, but particularly in the first three years of life, the Herzfeld Foundation supports programs and policy efforts focused on providing young children with high quality early learning experiences. Early stimulation of the brain is critical to later social and intellectual success. The Foundation recognizes the primary role parents play in providing stimulating learning experiences. Good early childhood programs partner with parents to meet the child’s needs. As Economist, James Heckman’s research demonstrates, early intervention promotes school readiness, reduces crime and teen pregnancy, avoids costly remediation, and promotes the development of human potential. Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald conclude that society will get back 8 dollars for every dollar spent on quality preschool programs such as the Perry Preschool program. In sum, the Herzfeld Foundation believes for both society and the children involved, the potential benefits of investments in early childhood can be extraordinary.
For three reasons, the Herzfeld Foundation believes that arts education develops creative thinkers:
Expands thinking: Many students experience art, music, and theater for the first time when they arrive at school. A student’s universe is expanded; while the everyday can be experienced anew from a different point of view. Arts education allows students to explore a wide range of human values and interests through literature, film, art, dance, and music.
Stimulates creativity: Participation in the artistic process encourages the generation of new ideas. Students work through a variety of possibilities when they paint a blank canvas, choreograph their own dance or produce their own video. They discover the power of connections and new ways of doing things.
Increases self awareness: Students find and strengthen their voices. They are able to show through painting, composition and performance what they have learned, how they view the world and how they think the world should be.
The Transportation Program
In 2000 the Herzfeld Foundation began the Transportation Program. Recognizing that transportation was not available for students to visit cultural institutions, the Herzfeld Foundation began funding buses for field trips. As the program developed, the Foundation put an emphasis on programs that engage students through multiple visits which enrich the experience.
Students served by the Herzfeld Foundation through Arts Education School Programming:
2010-2011 School Year: 20,971 students, 19% of Milwaukee students
2011-2012 School Year: 26,070 students, 24% of Milwaukee students
2016 Grants (PDF)
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2011 Grants (PDF)
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2009 Grants (PDF)