OUR PROGRAM

Arts-Based Character Education

Thinking Forward works with children and youth (ages 6-18) at inner city schools in Toronto.

Our 4-week arts-based leadership program takes place in the classroom, and features a highly interactive and arts-based curriculum.

Facilitators visit classes for 1 hour (for children) or 2 – 3 hours (for youth) each week to deliver age-appropriate lessons and activities.

Below you’ll find an example schedule and curriculum, but please note that we’re happy to customize the program to align with student needs and school schedules.

What principals are saying:

“The program values culture and community and expands one’s sense of responsibility and understanding of social situations. It is truly a sight to see the children at the auditorium waiting for the doors to open and then to see them so actively engaged in the program.”

Karen Sitarek, Retired principal, Toronto District School Board

What principals are saying:

“During these visits, they used many creative learning strategies to assist our students with ideas that supported our anti-bullying initiative and also allowed our kids to reflect on their numerous strengths…I wish that every student in Ontario, and especially Toronto, would have the opportunity to work with such a dynamic duo to support their classroom programming.”

Colin Pinkney, Principal, Toronto District School Board

What teachers are saying:

“My students felt pride that they contributed and were able to give back to our volunteers. In fact, when our time with Thinking forward came to an end, the students asked if we could continue working with the organization, both to engage in fun activities and to pay something back to the community.”

Aviva Komlos, Teacher, Toronto District School Board

What teachers are saying:

“It was heartwarming to see my students start to sketch out a future for themselves based on their self-identified strengths and skills. I was amazed at what seemed a fairly simple exercise was actually quite powerful.”

Elizabeth Bristoll, Teacher, Toronto District School Board

What children and youth are saying:

“Working together is about being nice to everybody and treating everybody as you want to be treated.”

Alex, Student, Toronto District School Board

What children and youth are saying:

“Bullying is really bad because people get hurt by being pushed or called names.”

Thalia, Student, Toronto District School Board

Our 4-week program focuses on three themes: Inward Leadership, Outward Leadership and Forward Leadership.

INWARD LEADERSHIP (me)

Developing responsibility, integrity and discovering unique strengths.

OUTWARD LEADERSHIP (others)

Collaboration, team-building and using each other’s strengths.

FORWARD LEADERSHIP (community)

Taking initiative to create positive change.

Here’s How It Looks in the Classroom…

WEEK 1

INWARD LEADERSHIP

(FOCUS ON RESPONSIBILITY)

SELF PORTRAITS

Students will develop a strong sense of self by exploring their strengths, personality traits, interests, and values. These ideas will be represented in a self portrait.

CHARACTER TRAITS

Students will learn the importance of developing good character and celebrate a trait they feel is deeply rooted within themselves through art canvases.

GRADES 7-12

DEVELOPING SELF

Students will develop a better sense of self by identifying their own strengths, values and personality traits through mind mapping exercises and personality assessments.

WEEK 2

OUTWARD LEADERSHIP

(FOCUS ON COLLABORATION)

MOBILES

Students will collaborate to create a class mobile that represents the importance of working together.

ROLE PLAY

Students will learn about collaboration by working in small groups to develop and perform their own skits.

GRADES 7-12

TEAM BUILDING

Students will participate in team building activities that will encourage them to use each other’s strengths, and collaborate to complete their tasks.

WEEK 3 & 4

FORWARD LEADERSHIP

(FOCUS ON INITIATIVE)

ART SHOW

Students will organize and showcase their original artwork to their peers fostering a sense of community within their school.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Students will partner with another community organization to engage in a project that will benefit those in the greater community.

GRADES 7-12

STUDENT-LED INITIATIVE

Students will work together to identify a need for their school or community, and will engage
in a student-led initiative to address this need.

If you're an educator and would like to bring our program to your school, please contact us!