By introducing small children to poems, you are teaching them the intellectual and physical coordination of ideas and meanings in a way that is fundamental to our nature... Dr. Seuss is good for you.
U..S. Poet Laureate
SBPT is an outgrowth and independent affiliate of California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). Since 1964, CPITS has been teaching the writing of poetry all across the state of California. In Santa Barbara, CPITS poets began teaching in the area’s schools in 1976 as part of the Children’s Creative Project. Beginning in 1984, the program left the umbrella of the Children’s Creative Project and continued under the guidance of local poet, teacher and therapist, Perie Longo.
Every year, individual elementary and middle schools contract with us to bring creativity and artistic expression to their classrooms. Classroom teachers also rely on SBPT to enhance their students’ acquisition of the California English Language Arts Contents Standards. Yet the most satisfying result of our work is the pleasure and pride of students, including those with limited English acquisition, who discover their innate ability to express themselves through poetry.
Santa Barbara Poet-Teachers continue the mission of CPITS:
- Helping students recognize and celebrate their own creativity, intuition and intellectual curiosity through the creative writing process.
- Providing students with a community of trained, published poets who bring a multi-cultural viewpoint and their experience and love for their craft into the classroom.
More About CPITS
California Poets in the Schools began in 1964 at San Francisco State University as the Pegasus Project, placing poets in the classrooms in the Bay Area to read poetry to children. The poets soon began teaching children to write poetry and the program evolved to include the students’ active participation in the writing process. There are now CPITS programs in 29 counties from Humboldt to San Diego. Since 1987, CPITS has placed a yearly average of over 150 poets in more than 300 schools across the state to work with 25,000 students in grades K-12. Over 100,000 poems are written every year by students in CPITS poetry workshops; some of them are collected in local, regional and statewide anthologies every year.
California Poets in the Schools began with funding from the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Since that time CPITS has diversified its funding base with support from corporate, community and private foundations, and a membership and individual donor program. The programís primary focus is to encourage students to write using their imagination, life experience, and special perceptions to create poetry.
Poet-Teachers are all accomplished writers. They are from diverse cultural and ethnic heritages and from many walks of life. CPITS poets serve as models of commitment to imaginative language and creativity and are uniquely capable of sharing an artist’s insights with children.
SBPT Beyond The Classroom
Because Santa Barbara Poet-Teachers believe that poetry does not stop at the classroom door, we endeavor to provide experiences within the greater community for our students.
Past and present endeavors include:
- A special student reading of original work at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival.
- Inclusion of work by Santa Barbara County students in the statewide CPITS Anthology.
- Publication of student work in the Santa Barbara News Press and the Santa Barbara Independent as winners of student poetry competitions.
- Participation in the Artists Field Day, April 30, 2006, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
- Assistance with presenting an evening of student poetry readings at individual participating schools.
- An upcoming opportunity for publication of studentís poetry on this website.