British-style “tea party” celebrates Chapel Haven’s unique partnership with Yale Center for British Art
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British-style “tea party” celebrates Chapel Haven’s unique partnership with Yale Center for British Art

The following is a special needs program update from Chapel Haven. You may also click here to read the original article on the program’s website.

brit art with jennyYCBA ActChapel Haven students and community members enjoyed a unique, British “tea party” last week with the help of docents and staff from the world-renowned Yale Center for British Art.

Click here to read a story in the New Haven Register about this unique partnership:

Since 2009, Art Teacher Tina Menchetti has worked closely with the museum to develop a cutting-edge museum educational program called Out to Art. Participants from Chapel Haven take part in a wide range of museum activities and sensory learning. They enjoy behind-the-scene tours, close looking at works of art and studio activities. Participants are able to build life skills while also developing theory of mind, memory and interpersonal connections.

Classes take place weekly at the Yale Center and are taught in collaboration with museum staff. Chapel Haven students study famous British paintings and sculptures, and draw and paint with direction and influence from the extensive collection.

The program, developed in 2009, was the idea of museum Curator of Education Linda Friedlaender, and put into action with Chapel Haven art teacher Tina.

Recently, in a British-style tea at Chapel Haven, students, docents and others closed the semester, saying they can’t wait for the new one to begin.

Next semester the program will temporarily change, as the museum will be closed from January 2015 to Feb. 2016 for renovations.

Instead, they’ll bring the program to Chapel Haven and students will visit other galleries, including Yale Art Gallery. Chapel Haven will also host another program at the museum for younger children on the autism spectrum.

Tina, who has developed many successful programs at the school, said the hope in the future is to collect data on the program – viewed as a national model – to demonstrate the program’s success.

But anecdotally, Tina, who knows the students well, has noticed a huge difference in their mannerisms, posture, vocabularies, social skills. She said the changes are physically visible.

“It’s a place they’ve been so welcome in an environment filled with brilliant, educated people,” she said. “They love the way they feel there.”

After the tea party, staff and docents from the museum led an art lesson at Chapel Haven,  with students and docents working together using clay to learn the process used in ancient times to duplicate wall  reliefs.