Connecting Learning with Creativity: Music, Arts, and Education

Connecting Learning With Creativity

Mr. Felipe Jimenez,  a special guest music educator visiting VCU’s School of Education from Universidad of El Bosque (UEB) in Colombia, will conduct an introductory, in-person workshop, Connecting Learning with Creativity: Music, Arts, and Education. Participants are invited to attend additional online discussions to continue working with Mr. Jimenez after the workshop. 

Attend One of All of Our Daily Workshops

Aug. 28, 29, 30, 31 & Sept. 1,  3:30 to 5:30 pm
CU Child Development Center Playground,
1128 Floyd Ave, Richmond, VA 23284
$50 per session, FREE for VCU SOE students 

Click here for more information and here for registration. For questions, email

Open to educators, students, parents, and community members, the workshop will focus on an innovative educational method that centers on empathy and human care rather than competition and data. Discovery of self over comparing oneself to others is an essential aspect of the approach.   

Felipe Jiménez will lead the workshop to explore artistic techniques such as theater, improvisation, music, and clowning. These techniques are tailored for educators and parents, regardless of their artistic background. The aim is to utilize the power of creativity and play to strengthen qualities like empathy, team building, assertive communication, leadership, and more, all of which are essential skills for success. 

Dr. Yaoying Xu, a professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Education and the director of the International Educational Studies Center, is leading this opportunity to foster educational excellence and global understanding.

“The primary goal of this workshop is to have fun. We will step out of our comfort zones in a secure setting to acquire knowledge about ourselves through our own vulnerabilities,” said Dr. Xu.  “Moreover, we will discover how to use stress and vulnerability to our advantage rather than as adversaries. Together, we will learn how to utilize these techniques to educate children in our families and communities.”

Upon completion of the workshop, attendees can collaborate on a music recording aimed at children. Participants are encouraged to contribute by creating musical compositions and engaging children from their respective communities and families. This project entails sharing the process and outcome with UEB students in Bogota, Colombia, to foster cultural and bilingual learning.

"The big-picture objective is to increase VCU's visibility and to enhance the cultural diversity of the VCU School of Education community. I believe that education is beyond borders, and education is for all," said Dr. Xu. "The center's mission is to provide various educational and cultural opportunities for scholars, educators, and students from all over the world to explore foundational and culturally meaningful topics in education and related fields."

The workshops are part of Project Empower, which supports culturally and linguistically diverse communities through innovative and reflective international collaboration in teacher education.  The workshop series is partly funded by a grant from VCU’s International Partnership Impact awards, a new initiative to develop, strengthen, and broaden international partnership collaboration.  

In the future, the project will be extended through external grants focused on global community engagement and family involvement. It will enhance cultural competencies and support cultural humility of the early childhood/early childhood special education curricula at VCU and UEB. 

About VCU School of Educational Studies Center

The International Educational Studies Center (IESC) is committed to fostering an educational community that encourages dynamic intellectual dialogues among all stakeholders responsible for educating all individuals from diverse backgrounds.  The center provides various educational and cultural opportunities for scholars, educators, and students from Asian countries and the United States to explore foundational and culturally meaningful topics in education and related fields.