The Awesome Clay Dogs

By Jody Chick and Jill Cox Baker

The awesome ”Clay Dogs” from YSHS met at the John Bryan Community Pottery (JBCP) one day a week for 8 weeks this winter for a 2 hour experience with clay, making such items as picture frames, decorative masks, clocks, magnets, bowls, and flower pots. One of the main goals of this project was to help build a bridge between school, home and community for these students. An Educational Endowment grant allowed for this exciting and rewarding partnering of the JBCP and the YS schools, specifically Jody Chick’s Intensive Needs class.

The student’s sessions were led by professional staff from the pottery and students were accompanied and /or assisted by Mrs. Chick, her 2 classroom aides, a JBCP board member who is a licensed Speech Pathologist, as well as other specialized staff from the school (physical therapist, speech therapist).

The course was designed utilizing Ohio Department of Education standards in the areas of visual arts, speaking and listening, and transitional goals for recreation leisure/self advocacy. A primary objective was to help with the transference of skills between school, home and community by providing an accepting atmosphere with numerous opportunities for the students to practice and strengthen their application of transitional life skills (thus future employability skills) including eye contact, meeting new people, recognizing and adjusting expected/unexpected behaviors, following directions, self esteem, patience, and handling frustration.

We also were able to provide an avenue for establishing a long term hobby and creative outlet for the students through exposure to the JBCP, a nonprofit gem in the YS community and resource that they otherwise may not have initiated or accessed on their own. We even saw with one student an inquisitiveness to research in books, magazines, and online in order to improve his artistic interests.

This initial project funded by the YSCF is a gateway to receiving Ohio Arts Council funds to continue and expand this program for the 2017-18 school year and beyond. The Clay Dogs will have their work on display during YSHS’s PBL night in May. Please stop by – you will be impressed with their art pieces and with them! Thank you YSCF!