Marion M. Graham Collegiate Institute (MMGCI) provided musical mentorship for their Functional Living Class in the 2019-20 school year.
In the effort to create a more inclusive school environment at MMGCI, the SRC created a program where they would build relationships between themselves and the Functional Living Students (FLS). Through the common language and appreciation of music, the SRC and FLS students were able to get to know each other and learn from each other in a positive environment. They were able to purchase the musical instruments for the program due to a Program of Excellence grant from SPSF.
The FLS students gained many skills from the music sessions, which they carried over to many areas of their Individual Education Plans. They learned fundamentals of music, like keeping a beat and making a sound, practicing many fine and gross motor skills along the way. They practiced math skills while counting the rhythm, reading skills while identifying which note they are assigned to, and turn taking while waiting for the right time to play. The FLS students gained confidence with their music skills and one of our students was even inspired to join a choir. The act of making music with instruments also gave the ability to create a casual learning environment for the students to practice important social skills.
The relationships formed during the meetings were invaluable. The FLS students have limited opportunities to interact with the rest of the student body socially, so spending regular time with the SRC started a chain reaction of positive social benefits for the students. When the students saw their SRC friends in the halls, they interacted. They met others in the student friend group, and their sense of belonging in the school was reinforced. When the students attend pep rallies, concerts, sporting events or even listened to the daily announcements, they felt connected because they personally knew so many of the students involved in these activities. This could not have happened without the assistance of the SRC Music sessions.
The success for the Marion Graham students was measured by their continued commitment to the project. In a school with many extra-curricular options, this project was one that many students committed to and looked forward to doing again next year.
The grant from SPSF allowed MMGCI to deliver the FLS Arts Program in more engaging format for students. The partnership between the SRC, Marion Graham student body and the FLS students is one that will continue and will be of tremendous benefit to all students.