Kids hands drawing a heart

Community Arts Program Enhances Early Childhood Education in Wayne and Medina Counties

Community Action Wayne/Medina Head Start (CAWM) and the Wayne Center for the Arts (WCA) celebrate the completion of their collaborative arts outreach program, supported by a grant from the PNC Foundation through PNC Grow Up Great.

Over the course of the program, 340 Head Start students from Wayne and Medina Counties benefited from 204 art and music sessions. Nearly half of the participants came from families facing extreme poverty, including children in foster care and those experiencing homelessness.

“PNC Grow Up Great aims to prepare young children for future success through education,” said Joe Luckring, PNC regional president for Akron. “Investing in early education is crucial for long-term societal and economic health, and we’re proud to partner with CAWM and the WCA to provide arts programming in our communities.”

The program’s impact was profound, with notable achievements in academic development, fine motor skills, and social-emotional growth:

  • Academic development saw a 12.51% improvement in geometry and spatial sense.
  • Fine motor skills increased by 6.2%.
  • Teachers reported positive changes in social-emotional development, including increased self-esteem, focus, and socialization.

Beyond academic gains, the program sparked conversations at home and nurtured a passion for the arts among participating children.

“We are grateful to the PNC Foundation for their generous support,” said James Fox, CEO of CAWM. “This program has been transformative for our vulnerable children, fostering creativity, skills development, and positive relationships.”

Sara Brink, Executive Director of the Wayne Center for the Arts, emphasized the importance of arts in early education, stating, “Access to the arts is essential for nurturing creativity and critical thinking. We are thankful to PNC Bank for their commitment to early childhood education.”

The success of this collaboration underscores the importance of arts in education and highlights the potential for continued growth and impact in the community.