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Folk arts raise fundamental questions for education. Taught by and large outside (and often in opposition to) formal structures, folk arts can help educators raise critical questions about how knowledge is constructed and transmitted. Here at the PFP, we have been working in critical folk arts education for eighteen years. Our folk arts education programs include the following:

We partnered with Asian Americans United to develop the Folk Arts and Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS) here in Philadelphia: a K-8 multicultural school with a commitment to culturally responsive education.

Our Folk Arts and Multicultural Education (FAME) program places Philadelphia-area artists in school and community residencies. More than 10-12 residencies occur annually, many at FACTS.

To support these residencies, and offer resources both for artists and educators, we've developed publications, curricula and essays, some of which can be found here. (See our resources area for more materials that can be adapted to classrooms, and materials for sale, including children's books on local traditional artists).

  • A new website featuring student work in folk arts, and resources on teaching folk arts: The site (in process) was developed with Asian Americans United (AAU) and FACTS, and supported through the esights - esounds initiative of Scribe Video Center.
  • Pitfalls and possibilities (1996, revised 1998)
  • Folk Arts Standards (developed by the Folk Arts Committee at FACTS, a collaboration of PFP, AAU and FACTS). View PDF / 504 KB
  • Resource handouts for educators about folk arts ed. View PDF / 1.4 MB
  • In My Heart, I am a Dancer  Teachers' Guide (1999)
  • Works in Progress (14:1/2) Summer 2001. Special Asian Art Happens Here issue includes the essay "Sites of struggle: bringing folklore and social change into the classroom: by Deborah Wei and Debora Kodish.
    View PDF / 2.5 MB
  • Folk Arts of Social Change: Visit the updated sections of this exhibition. We have instructions for how to do your own exhibition in the "Big Shoes to Fill" section - an exercise that is useful for teachers. (We're pleased to say that this section was recently reprinted in the new book, Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching, published by Teaching for Change and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council.)
  • Teacher's modules on Chinese and Cambodian community traditions and folk arts, developed by Deborah Wei for the School District of Philadelphia, and using PFP materials and children's books. The 6th grade module (PDF) focuses on Cambodian traditions and uses In my heart I am a dancer. (428 K) The 7th grade module (PDF) uses Walking on Solid Ground and deals with Chinese community arts and experiences (3.2MB)
  • Handouts for a professional development at FACTS focusing on using proverbs and quoted speech as resources for teaching and learning. View PDF / 1.3 MB

Finally, we offer technical assistance for folk and traditional artists who want to work in schools and community sites in our regular technical assistance workshop series. Topics vary, but we have worked with artists on such things as: how to construct a residency program, how to link folk arts to standards-based curricula, and how to get on arts education roster programs. Workshops also have provided assistance to educators hoping to develop folk arts residencies.