PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The 4th grade class from Elwood School in North Philadelphia recently visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art — part of a wonderful opportunity, Art Speaks, for every single fourth grader in the Philadelphia public schools — to travel to the Museum, the Barnes Foundation, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, or the Institute for Contemporary Art.

For Empowerment Schools, which have been long under-performing, a volunteer comes to the school first to talk about the art. Transportation is no problem because buses are free and when the kids arrive, a docent takes them through talking about the paintings. Afterward, kids write in their journals combining art and literacy.

Years ago, we took our three young children to a Thomas Eakins exhibit and six-year-old Jon ran around not seeming to notice the masterpieces. Months later he asked if doctors always operated in boats.

The operating bay, then surrounded by a small half-wall, reminded him of a boat. That trip started an interest in Eakins which he shared later with his own family. With kids, response isn’t always immediate.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

Watch & Listen LIVE