K-12 Education Outreach Programs

The foundation for our education programs is based in the lessons learned from the Holocaust. While we educate both adults and children, our main focus is our kindergarten through 12th grade outreach programs. By engaging students through extended arts making projects, we help them process difficult subjects, build empathy, and learn how to apply the lessons to their own lives.

All curricula are age-appropriate and available to teachers free of charge.

Behind the Lens: Student Portrayals of a Troubled World

In this program, mainly for high school students, our educators first explore the history of the Holocaust and help students recognize historical patterns such as segregating of the “other” and the human responses that allow hate to escalate. Bringing relevancy to the past, we then ask students to create 3-to-5-minute films addressing a cause and a young individual who stood up for what was right then or is right now.

Museum staff, including professional filmmakers and arts educators, guide students through the entire process from research and analyzing texts to editing, building literacy skills along the way. Some schools are not technologically equipped for students to create films so alternative artistic and educational mediums are designed to fulfill the goals of this project. Instead of filmmaking, especially if students are challenged by a lack of devices and access to the internet, they can, for example, create a graphic short story or use digital photography to tell that story. Appropriate for 8th to 12th graders, the course requires approximately 14 to 16 sessions, successively or dispersed throughout the academic year.

You can view many of these videos on the Behind the Lens Student Film Projects YouTube Channel. Simply select from the list below to open a “playlist” for that school and date (in a new tab):

Stand Up! Be Counted!

While appropriate for all middle school grades, this program was designed specifically for at-risk students. Bullying, especially cyberbullying, is particularly difficult for those transitioning from childhood to adolescence. Additionally, at-risk middle school students coming from underserved communities are more frequently targets of bullying. All too often poverty and violence prevent them from reaching their academic and social potential.

There are three distinct components to this program: social-emotional skill development, literacy skill acquisition, and arts engagement. Using Holocaust education as the foundation, we teach students that by not acting, by being bystanders, bad things happen. We help them acquire strategies and tools, enabling them to act for themselves or support others who cannot support themselves. By empowering marginalized students, our goal is to help them take control of their lives and encourage their commitment to learning grow. Appropriate for 6th to 8th graders, the course requires 14 to 16 sessions, successively or dispersed throughout the year.

Stand Up! Count on Me!

Through the exploration of literature and art making, this elementary school program is committed to empowering students to practice empathy, kindness, and understanding while valuing inclusion and celebrating the diversity of others. Students are introduced to the upstander concept and vocabulary. To become an upstander, elementary students learn that acts of kindness, no matter how small, do make a difference in helping to make their classroom, school, community, and world a better place for everyone. The program pairs a grade appropriate picture book with an art making project for kindergarten through 3rd grade. It generally involves two, 50-minute class periods per project. Teachers can select up to four books per year. The program for 4th and 5th graders includes literature focusing on what it means to be an upstander. Students engage in a more extended program that would include 8 to 10 classes a year.

Stand Up! Wee Care!

This pre-K program is being developed and will focus on picture books and art-making emphasizing empathy.

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