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The Vista Voyagers know how to get creative!

Young boy molding clay with his hands while an instructor and volunteer sit next to him.

Just last month our youth participated in the event Imagination Station, A Day with Clay at Vista’s new San Jose location.  Girl creating a mug out of clay with help from an instructor.The Playful Critters, ages 5 - 10, created a sleek sea turtle and the Undercover Creators, ages 11 to 15, crafted their very own drinking mug. The Playful Critters worked jointly with their parents enjoying some quality time together while the Undercover Creators worked independently chatting with each other, Angel (Vista Center instructor), and the volunteers (from New Visions of Tomorrow). During the event, one parent shared, “My son is quite shyYoung girl showing off her clay project, a sea turtle, to the camera. , but I saw him today opening up to his peers because he was engaged in activities he could actively participate in and express his own unique creativity.”

All Voyager events are crafted around the Expanded Core Curriculum, a set of nine areas where children with visual impairments require specialized opportunities in order to compensate for the lack of learning by observing others. Imagination Station, A Day with Clay highlighted four key areas, social interaction, recreation and leisure skills, career education exposure, and self-determination.

Expanded Core Curriculum skills developed:

  1. Social interactions: Younger students spent quality one-on-one time with their parents working together to shape and paint the turtles. Several students were reunited with friends they hadn’t seen since preschool, and students who were shy or new to the group were soon chatting happily away about their project ideas.
  2. Recreation and leisure skills: Students had the opportunity to craft, shape, and paint a clay figure and understand art which is meaningful to them. Students with visual impairments need hands on exposure to the wide variety of recreations and leisure skills available to them as they are not able to observe these options via television or watching a peer.
  3. Career education exposure: Students were exposed to an art instructor who was also visually impaired. Career exposure is vital for students with visual impairments as it demonstrates how lack of sight is not a limitation for future career options.
  4. Self-determination development: Students learned a new skill and expressed their own creative techniques. When confused on the next steps in the project, students were encouraged to self-advocate by asking for help. Students overcame tactile defensiveness by digging, rolling, and manipulating the clay.