Powerful art and interpersonal relationships are being built by students in the Paul Road Transition program. School social worker Cathy Gartland began a poster coloring project with her students last spring, but the dynamic image of a lion has really come to life since classes began again in September.
“I thought coloring would be a great outlet for students throughout their day,” she said. “They work on the poster for a few minutes as they transition into classes, during breaks, counseling, lunch, and times of dysregulation or quiet contemplation.”
Students use colored pencils, which are carefully sanitized between uses. They began in a very freeform way, but with time, they have developed respect for their collaborators, complimenting others’ creative choices and discussing color and style.
“It has helped them develop patience,” said Gartland. “They're able to practice conversational skills without even knowing it as they ask each other what to color next or what colors would look best. Then the conversation evolves into a shared topic of interest and they learn how to make personal connections.”