“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” —Plutarch
Soon after the Friends of Carrillo Ranch, Inc. was established, it was apparent to the President and his Board of Directors that Leo Carrillo Ranch would someday serve the public as a prime educational resource. Thus, the journey began.
In the spring of 1991, a presentation was made to fourth grade students at La Costa Meadows Elementary School in Carlsbad. It was received with great enthusiasm and many presentations followed to other schools, service clubs and interested organizations in the San Diego area. By 1994, 18 schools, 50 teachers and 1500 students were learning about Leo Carrillo, the man, and Carrillo Ranch, the resource, in their classrooms.
In the fall of 1994, the Friends were the recipients of Save Our Heritage Organization’s prestigious Community Education Award. By 1997, fine tuning of the program was in progress to ensure it met the State of California’s curriculum standards. The President of the Friends, the Art Coordinator with the Carlsbad Unified School District and a curriculum writer from Encinitas teamed together and a comprehensive program was created. It combined an art component with the history of Carrillo Ranch and Leo Carrillo’s heritage and lifetime achievements in California.
In September of 1997, Target Corporation awarded the Friends a $1000 grant for their California History & Art program. This set the stage for all subsequent funding from other interested donors. The following year the Friends received a Certificate of Commendation from the Carlsbad Unified School District for its significant contribution to Arts Education.
Carrillo Ranch opened to the public in August 2003. The first class of fourth graders was treated to a field trip to the park in December of that year.
In 2005, approaching its ninth consecutive year, the Friends received this comment from the Principal at Magnolia Elementary School in Carlsbad:
“Research confirms that the arts help students achieve academically and develop socially. Studies show that reading, writing, and math skills are enhanced by the arts. Students involved in the arts have higher SAT scores; high-risk students are more likely to stay in school if involved in the arts. The arts contribute to reading comprehension, fundamental thinking skills, motivation to learn self-confidence and a healthy school environment. Arts education includes music, visual arts, drama and dance. The arts integrate mind, body, and spirit, and provide opportunities for self-expression, making it possible for abstractions to become more understandable as they take on concrete form. They create a connection between motivation, instruction, assessment, and practical application. The arts provide the means for every student to learn.”
The Friends continues to support this valuable program today. It is now a cooperative endeavor brought to students as a partnership between the Friends of Carrillo Ranch, Inc., the City of Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department and the Library & Cultural Arts Department. It continues to be free to all fourth grade classes located within the boundaries of the City of Carlsbad, and features a docent-led tour of the historic rancho and an interactive art lesson related to the Ranch.
During the program, students experience the history of the rancho, learn about the glamorous life and good works of Hollywood actor, Leo Carrillo, and try an activity that was part of regular life at the Ranch. They create artwork inspired by Leo Carrillo Ranch which they take with them. These one-of-a-kind pieces are frequently used as a whole-class art installation back in the classroom, before the student takes them home.
Educators rank this field trip very highly, and 100% of teachers surveyed said they planned to return and would recommend the trip to other teachers. We are proud to offer this program to students from Carlsbad, and thankful for the support that allows us to do so.
If you believe in this concept and would like to make a difference in a young child’s life, please join us and learn more about our mission.
“The doors of wisdom are never shut.”—Benjamin Franklin