While all of us might agree that education is more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic, many of us would also agree that education can be adventurous and exciting – especially when students are fortunate to have educators who inspire them to explore the world around them, experience their senses, develop relationships, and gain knowledge. But educators shouldn't stop there. They should also help kids develop common sense so they will learn to make sound decisions. And schools should serve as a repository of creative tools students can access to tap into their individual passions.
Once those passions are explored, children discover the joy of invention and creativity, and they conceive of ways to combine their joys with their talents – talents that become careers – careers that make valuable contributions to the world.
Who doesn't want to ignite a spark in our children that creates a fun and entertaining environment conducive to learning? Who wants our children to learn by rote when we can inspire in them a desire to learn for themselves? By providing learning that goes beyond the standard educational studies into the creative arts, we enable our children to thrive and to prosper.
Yes, creative arts programs are costly, and creative programs fall by the wayside as more conventional programs find funding, because language, math, science, and sports have been deemed more important. As a result, many of our nation's schools suffer from lack of funding for programs that would enrich our children's creative lives, and our children suffer because we provide them with only a basic academic experience.
Why is Creativity important?
According to an article written by John M. Eger in the Huffington Post a few years ago, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, once said, "You need to understand things in order to invent beyond them." In saying that, Mr. Gates announced a link between knowledge and creativity.
The article further states that it is important for us to recognize that, "a whole new economy and society based upon creativity and innovation is emerging and that as a consequence, it is of vital importance that we reinvent our communities, our businesses, our government, and most importantly our schools to meet the challenges such major structural shifts are compelling."*
But how can we educate our children creatively if we can't fund programs that will enable our children to become creative?
Well, thanks to the man I am about to introduce, funding is no longer a reasonable argument for denying our young students the necessary pleasure of exploring their creativity – at least for students in the younger grades. Because now one Mayor is GIVING creative educational materials to schools, not only in the United States of America, but also around the world.
Who is this Mayor?
A father of two, married for nearly two decades to the mother of his two children, the Mayor of Storyville® is also the voice of Alien Answer Brain, Billy Borschtbelt, Camp Counselor Kenny, Dutch, and other Click-a-ma-jig cartoon characters on Nick.com.
The Mayor of Storyville's name is Kenny Haas #25, and this Mayor's goal is to create a syndicated children’s program – shot live in schools that don't have an entertainment budget – and share his stories with the world.
Every night as the Mayor of Storyville tucks his little girls (9 and 11) into bed (something he has been doing since the day they were born), Daddy tells his daughters an original story, and he has written down over 200 of his stories.
What is the Mayor of Storyville giving away?
The Mayor of Storyville is giving teachers and parents around the world the same thing he has given to Shriner’s Hospital, Chicago Commons, City of Hope, Feed My Starving Children, and numerous churches and schools – free access to his Mayor of Storyville® Channel. The Mayor of Storyville organizes fundraisers for the aforementioned organizations, films his shows in front of a live audience, and gives all of the proceeds from his shows to organizations that help children. And he uses those videos to reach even more children through his podcasts.
But more than giving to organizations he supports, the Mayor of Storyville, through his stories, helps each child's imagination and creativity to flourish. His interactive style engages students and teachers alike, because of the richness of his characters and because of the way he presents his material.
And because of the way the Mayor of Storyville structures his presentations, teachers everywhere can benefit from his collection by bringing his videos into their classrooms to stimulate their students' creativity and enhance the classroom experience. Teachers can pause the podcasts while students construct their own zoos filled with animals they create, write their own stories, learn to draw, learn empathy and compassion, and so much more.
Parents, too, benefit from the Mayor of Storyville, whether they are homeschool parents or parents who just want their children to excel. Because anyone who listens to and watches the stories provided by the Mayor of Storyville immediately grasps Kenny's love for children and his love of story. You can tell that the spirit of the Mayor thrives on interaction with his young audience, and that he genuinely loves sharing his gifts with them.
How the Mayor of Storyville affects audience members:
One audience member who had the fortunate experience of attending one of the Mayor's in-school presentations had this to say about the Mayor of Storyville, "If I was a teacher I'd use every tool at my disposal to keep the students inspired and engaged, and one guy has cornered the market at keeping students' attention, the Mayor of Storyville. I imagine that all teachers's schedules are hectic, and school finances are too tight to bring a writing program, but that is no longer a problem."
How to introduce a creative arts program when you have no funds:
That's right. School funding is not a problem for teachers who agree with the experts, that creativity is a necessary component in acquiring knowledge, because some creative people are stepping up to help schools out. The Mayor of Storyville is one of those people. His podcasts are FREE!
Kenny's Mayor of Storyville CD just won a 2012 Parents' Choice Award and his podcasts are ranked #4 for Kids and Family on PodOmatic, one of the largest podcasting presences online.
For 20 years the Mayor of Storyville has been inspiring children in the Chicagoland area to explore their imaginations and empower their creativity. Now Chicago is sharing their Mayor with the world.
Please join the Mayor of Storyville as he relates the adventures of his many characters. Share the Mayor of Storyville podcasts with your children and students. Have them post comments; the Mayor enjoys receiving comments and he always responds to them. Don't forget to "Like" each Mayor of Storyville story, and visit the Mayor of Storyville on Facebook too.
You can also access the Mayor of Storyville through iTunes!
Here are links to the podcasts:
Create a Zoo
The Loneliest Crayon
Draw Along – Peepalot
Little Lucky Lou (audio only)