Cairn Hill An Educational Collaborative

Cairn Hill is an after school program that seeks to enrich the education of children in underserved communities

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About Somerville

Children Learning Child drawing

Like Malden, Somerville is a highly diverse community with over 71 languages spoken; most prevalent are Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and French so the number of English language learners in the schools is substantial.

Somerville is also the most densely populated city in New England. Long the stepsister to its well known neighbor, Cambridge, Somerville has recently become a desirable location for artists, students and young adult so the community is vibrant and changing. Somerville Community Schools welcomes outside specialists as activity club providers.

Story Play at Somerville’s Healey School

In September, 2013 we began a partnership with the Somerville Community Schools to offer our curriculum, Story Play, as an afternoon club of arts, music, crafts and drumming built around story themes. Teachers Lily-Rakia Chandler and Brenda Behrends skillfully engaged the K-2nd graders in a series of arts enrichment activities based on our pilot curriculum, The Art of Word Weaving developed during our pilot year. The group of 12 children from different ethnicities not only learned new vocabulary words through our story content, but also how to find their own voice by telling or singing their own stories to each other. The puppets and drumming the teachers used to convey content carried the stories deep into the children’s consciousness, and the repertory of songs the children learned gave them joy.