Play Time is Work Time: Fostering Joy and Creativity in Education
>> “Why be a bully? Be a buddy! Share all the love you can,” sings Jon Lewis, a local singer-songwriter with a focus on writing fun-filled and inventive children’s music. Performing under the stage-name “Mr. Loops,” this artistically-inclined musician is a true multipotentialite, digging his hands into a number of creative endeavours throughout the Rochester area. From working as a videographer for local historical societies to instilling a love for hands-on learning in his role as a preschool teacher, Lewis finds an inherent joy in sharing his creative passions with the community. Entering his sixth year of performing under the stage name of “Mr. Loops,” Lewis can be seen donning wildly colorful outfits and expressing a wacky persona through singing original children’s music at birthday parties, large family events, daycare centers, and the occasional park or library. Lewis holds a unique ability to seamlessly synthesize his role as an educator into his work as a creator, combining the art of emotional pedagogy with playful and approachable lyrics to encourage children to explore their own emotions and engage with problems that necessitate conflict resolution. During a lighthearted and cheerful phone call with Floated editor Krit Upra, Lewis unpacks the messages in his songs, sharing that, “As Mr. Loops, most of my music is geared towards an altruistic and empathetic behavior, developing the idea of being silly, dancing, expressing yourself, and always helping others.”
Working as a preschool teacher in the Rochester City School District, Lewis aims to bring creativity into the classroom, often hearing students refer to his main instrument as, “Mr. Guitar.” Playing an altruistic exciting and joyful melodies to start off each day and light soothing songs during naptime, Lewis insists on the importance of making the children’s time spent in school an inviting opportunity for learning and personal growth: “When I go into school, my life gets put at the door and it’s all about greeting these kids with a huge ball of energy when they come in, making them feel wanted and making them feel important, and that they are important enough to be whatever they want to be.” Openly aware of his minority status as a man in the field of adolescent education, Lewis hopes that he can act as a positive male role model by using his craft to impel his students to express their emotions through empathy rather than violence. After spending hours of quality time in the classroom, this hope became a reality as Lewis noticed that students were using their toy blocks to pretend to play music rather than pretend to shoot guns. Describing the phenomenal shift that occurred as he incorporated music into the curriculum, Lewis states that, “It totally changed their mindset of using things to pretend like they were shooting or being violent to being creatively oriented and playing music, and that makes me so happy. That’s something that’s already started to happen in front of me.” ....<<
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