The National PTA Reflections Program is an arts recognition and achievement program for students. The Reflections Program provides opportunities for students to express themselves creatively and to receive positive recognition for original works of art inspired by a pre-selected theme while increasing community awareness of the importance of the arts in education.
The Reflections Program was established in 1969 by National PTA board member Mary Lou Anderson. Since that time, more than 10 million students have participated in the program. The program’s longevity and participation figures attest to its strength. The excitement and enthusiasm that the program generates for children, parents, schools and communities is unmatched.
Participation in 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.
- Music Composition
- Visual Arts
- Dance Choreography
- Film 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 artwork by appropriate developmental age and skill levels. The five grade divisions are as follows:
- Primary – Preschool – Grade 2 or up to age 7
- Intermediate – Grades 3-5 or ages 8-10
- Middle School – Grades 6-8 or ages 11-13
- High School – Grades 9-12 or ages 14+
- Special Artist – No Specific Grades
The Reflections Program is structured for PTAs to recognize students at the local unit, council, district PTA, 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 schools where the program is sponsored. Entries are forwarded through channels. Each unit, council and district PTA establishes its own due dates, allowing adequate time for displaying and judging of entries. Units should acquire due dates from their council and district PTA. Only district PTAs may submit entries to 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.