They say the sky is the limit when it comes to learning, but Meg Albers, executive director of Aeolus Curricula, believes learning is limitless and she uses kites to teach that valuable lesson. Albers is the executive director of Aeolus Curricula, a new non-profit focused on making the world a better place through kites.
“The wide variety of kite genres makes them incredibly versatile,” said Albers. “Kite flying is all inclusive, from the youngest to the oldest, fit or disabled. There are miniature kites the size of postage stamps, sport kites that require constant movement and interaction to keep them aloft.”
Surprising lessons can be taught with twine and wind. “We educate groups on military kite use, kites and how they are used for bridge building, Day of the Dead to talk about religion, transportation, renewable energy and kite aerial photography,” said Albers.
“We use kites to encourage and explore cultural diversity,” said Albers. “We use kites to combat the growing obesity problems, kites are an inter-generational, hands-on, interactive educational tool that makes physical activity fun.”
Albers, a substitute teacher, believes just about anything can be taught with kites. “The Industrial Revolution, CAD design, Ariel Photography, geography and mapping,” said Albers. “ On the kite fields, a lot of things just don’t matter like they do in a classroom. Kite flying is very one sky, one world.”
Albers believes kites are a good learning tool because they can be made of inexpensive and readily available materials. “There is no socio-economic barrier to the wind. Kites and kite flying are the perfect common denominator,” Albers said.
“I have flown kites with blind children and at senior citizen centers. We use big kites and small indoor and outdoor kites,” said Albers. Kites are a diverse as the people that use them. “Kites can cost $50,000 dollars or they can be made of recycled household materials.”
Although the non-profit is young, work is in progress to get more grants so they can put on more programs for the community. “We put on a free kite festival for the community and 18 programs in the three years the organization has had its 501c3.”
“I am trying to transition to doing more. It is hard to ask for funds, but we have put on some wonderful programs and seen them do wonderful things for students and organizations.” The fun part about a kite is that kindergarten students, engineering students, and senior citizens can all learn something from mastering string and wind.
Aeolus Curricula keeps its overhead low, so not very much funding is needed. “Most of our funding goes straight into programs,” said Albers. Albers has over 100 kites stored in her garage.
Albers loves kites, but the hobby didn’t hit her until she was 25. “I was one of eight kids and the least coordinated. I found a kite, brought it home and hung it on my wall. It was just beautiful. I began to fly kites. It was something outdoors and active that I could do. There were so many different kinds of kites and I thought to myself, I can do this. I loved that the hobby offered so much diversity.”
Albers had a kite store in the 1980s and had a lot of fun working with the children’s hospital near the store.” Ever since I have known that kites can help lift spirits,” she said. Albers believes that there is nothing a kite can’t do.
“What (other object) do you know that can break through social economic barriers, get people moving indoors and out and make learning easier and more fun? Learning doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Kites are an underused tool and sometimes less is better.”
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