Biloxi, was recently certified as an Excel by 5 community, which means the city has met a long list of criteria, geared toward creating a productive and safe environment for children birth to age five. But that wasn't enough. Biloxi's Excel by 5 Coalition has decided to go above and beyond the call of duty, to make sure children in childcare centers across the city are getting extra exposure to art.
Stacy Baer is a Biloxi artist who has a passion for sharing her talents with some of the most creative minds around - children.
"I learn from them I think, more than they learn from me," she says. "I really do. If you sit there and watch a child, how they think, um, it's totally different because we as adults we get so caught up in oh you have to do it this way and you have to do it that way, and they don't have those limitations on their minds."
Baer heads up a program called "Art on Wheels" for Biloxi's Excel by 5 coalition. Essentially, she volunteers her time to go into various child care centers, to teach four-year-olds the wonders of art.
"Some people just think art is drawing and painting. Art is beyond that. And it helps with all creative anything," Says Baer. "And that's where we get cars, you we get automobiles, we get people who design pipelines, bridges, whatever it is."
Lisa Wold adds, "I mean without art, we wouldn't have anything. The colors, the lines, they learn a lot of skills through art."
Wold is a former kindergarten teacher who also volunteers with Biloxi's Excel by 5. She says the traveling art program has been a real success for child care centers so far.
"Well it's an opportunity for us to branch out and include them in activities across Biloxi because they're not unified in several ways. So this is one way to unify them."
For Baer, the rewards for teaching these creative young minds are endless because she knows, she's helping their imaginations soar - A sure fire way, to help them prepare for the wonderful world of Kindergarten.
Baer admits, "Watching their little minds and how they progress - It's amazing."
Biloxi parents who don't enroll their children in child care can still take advantage of the Art on Wheels Program, at the Family Resource Center located at the old Lopez Elementary school. To learn more, just call (228) 297-6808.
If you'd like to learn more about Excel by 5 and how it's helping children birth to age five across south Mississippi, just click here.
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