For over 40 years, the national PTA Reflections Program has encouraged students across the nation and in American schools overseas to explore their artistic talents.
The PTA Reflections Program is designed to enhance quality arts education for students in preschool through grade 12, encouraging them to create works of art in the areas of dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography, and the visual arts. More than 500,000 students participate through their local PTAs each year—millions over the course of the program’s over 40 years.
The Reflections Program helps parents encourage the creativity and lifelong learning of their children, and offers children recognition for their artistic endeavors.
Parents, teachers, and community members all play a critical role in providing a positive learning environment for children. Supporting the PTA Reflections Program is one way you can increase student achievement, foster student talents, and promote the arts in your home, your school, and your community.
Participation and appreciation for the arts is the Reflections Program's goal. Although the Reflections Program follows a "contest" format, winning should not be the emphasis.
Participation in the Reflections Program is a great way for students to explore and learn about various art forms. Creating art is a valuable learning process that challenges students to use their critical thinking skills as well as their creative talents to create art that supports a specific theme.
Students may submit an entry in any of the six arts areas listed below. Only original works of art are accepted. Depending on state and local PTA guidelines, students may enter more than one work of art. The six arts areas are as follows:
- Musical composition
- Visual arts
- Dance Choreography
- Film/Video Production
Participation in the Reflections Program is organized by school grade. Student works are critiqued against others in the same grade division. This allows recognition and judging of artworks by appropriate developmental age and skill levels.
Now, there is a fifth division of the Reflection program- the Special Artist Division. This non graded-division limited to students whose physical, cognitive or mental health challenges meet the guidelines set forth in the American Disabilities Act. Students who qualify for the Special Artist Division may choose to enter in the traditional four grade divisions. If this is the case, the student will follow all general rules and arts category rules but may submit the entry in the grade division most closely aligned to their cognitive or functional abilities. The student will be recognized and awarded as part of the general student population without regard to special needs or challenges. The five divisions are as follows:
- Primary Preschool - Grade 2
- Intermediate Grades 3 - 5
- Middle/Junior Grades 6 - 8
- Senior Grades 9 - 12
- Special Artist Non-Grade
The Reflections Program is structured for PTAs to recognize students at the local unit, council, PTA district, state and national levels. Entries are first judged at the local unit level, where selected works are chosen to represent the PTA at each subsequent level depending on each state PTA structure. Once entries reach the state level, the state PTA may select entries to submit to the National PTA. Award of Excellence and Awards of Merit are recognized at the annual National PTA convention and are displayed as part of the program's traveling exhibit.
Participation in the California Reflections program is open to all students in attendance at PTA/PTSA schools where program is sponsored. Entries are forwarded through channels. Each unit, council and PTA district establishes their own deadline dates, allowing adequate time for displaying and judging of entries. PTA units should acquire deadline dates from their council and PTA district. Only PTA districts may submit entries to the California State PTA.
Please remember that:
- Students may submit entries only through a PTA or PTSA in good standing.
- All entries submitted must be original works and must relate to the annual Reflections Program theme.
- Each entry must be the work of only one student. Assistance from teachers, parents or friends is not permitted except in special cases (such as for those with visual or physical disabilities)
- Participation encourages creativity and exploration. Students should do their best, but crooked lines, incorrect musical notes, or misspelled words do not disqualify anyone.
FUTURE REFLECTIONS PROGRAM THEME
The National PTA is looking for a theme for its next Reflections Program. A student's suggestions(s) for the theme ideas may be sent to your state office by the individual student or by a local PTA/PTSA. The theme may include a wide variety of subjects that will appeal to students in preschool through grade 12. The winning student will receive $100 and recognition at the National PTA Convention held in June. Submit a suggestion for a future theme.
Questions? Contact Stephanie Shintaku, firstname.lastname@example.org