Carolina Community Academy tours campus icons and Ackland Museum of Art

On a crisp October morning, 29 kindergartners from Carolina Community Academy in Roxboro, North Carolina, walked through the doors of the Ackland Museum of Art and were transported to early Japan. A world of kimonos, hair ornaments and wonder awaited them.

The visit to the Ackland marked the Academy’s first field trip to the UNC-Chapel Hill campus and allowed students to look up close, see far, and engage – with the art and with a new place – in new ways.

As students browsed the permanent and rotating galleries, Ackland staff and volunteers asked questions and led activities that included selecting favorite artworks and giving students the opportunity to create their own. works.

“There’s nothing quite like slowing down and staring at a piece of art for 20 minutes, and these students at Carolina Community Academy have done it three times,” said Jenny Marvel, school programs manager. and communities of Ackland. “They spent an hour looking very closely at artwork, paying attention to detail, listening to each other and being open to new ideas.”

Carolina Community Academy—a partnership between the university and Person County Schools—is an innovative K-2 school at North Elementary School in Roxboro. The Academy’s goal is to harness the full strength of Carolina to help serve the students, families, and community of Person County. The UNC School of Education has assembled a cross-campus coalition of schools and units to do this work. The student trip to Ackland is one of the first achievements of this coalition.

In preparation for the visit, museum staff traveled to Roxboro to meet with students in advance. They shared a presentation with some of the art they would see, especially in the Japanese art exhibit. The students also tried on kimonos for a more immersive experience.

“[Our students] learned that there is no right or wrong answer about what you like in art, and they learned that we can use art to express our emotions, the things we like and that are close to our hearts,” said Renee Carmon, principal of Carolina Community Academy, noting full Ackland the impact of the experience on students’ social and emotional development.

Through these campus partnerships, students will have new opportunities to grow and learn, and faculty and staff educators in Person County and Carolina will be able to exchange and develop new ideas.

“We have the opportunity to provide co-curricular and extracurricular experiences that complement an engaging elementary experience,” said Amy Richardson, director of Carolina Community Academy. “There is joy in learning, and while our campus trips reinforce the learning happening at Roxboro, we are also thrilled to help our staff and students at Carolina Community Academy reflect on how those same experiences can be reflected by and with our great collaborators in Person County.

After the visit to Ackland, the students took a campus tour, made possible by the UNC Visitor Center, visiting the Old Well, Polk Place, and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

Future campus excursions are already planned and more are being planned. Students at Carolina Community Academy will attend a women’s basketball game in November and the Morehead Planetarium in the spring.

“Another vision of our campus field trips is to show our students what college life is all about,” Richardson said. “Some students are more drawn to academics, others are drawn to the similarities or differences in the places where they grow up, while still others are drawn to the breadth of accessibility a university offers. Our campus trips aim to show our youngest Tar Heels – and their families – what it’s like to be a student here.

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Mildred D. Field