The goal of PACE is to foster the cognitive, motor, social-emotional and language development of young children through meaningful opportunities in the arts.

In 1999, in response to the need for sequential arts programming in elementary schools, the Lafayette Parish School System decided to start an arts program that could work in collaboration with the Acadiana Arts Council. PACE (Primary Academic Creative Experiences) was created to assist schools in teaching the arts and teaching other academic subject areas through the arts. The program was designed to help schools establish a school environment rich in the arts.

PACE was based on the concept that children learn in a great number of ways, such as listening, speaking, acting and creating. Research has shown that the arts can be used as an enriching educational tool to further stimulate learning, and that active learning experiences are not only effective but have long term positive results.

With that in mind, artists’ residencies were developed within several Title I elementary schools for Kindergarten through 3rd grade students. The residencies are intended to bring together practicing artists and teachers to learn from each other while they both teach and learn from their students. The classroom teachers play an active role in developing the lessons with the teaching artists. Each teacher provides the grade level information necessary for the teaching artist to design arts activities that focus on common thematic units and support existing classroom instruction. Individual art classes take place weekly throughout the school year.

PACE has 19 participating schools and 12 Teaching Artists teaching over 150 arts integrated lessons weekly in the Lafayette Parish school system.

Since it’s start in 1999, the PACE program has been in 2,611 classrooms, impacting more that 55,000 students in over 83,000 classroom sessions.

By giving young students the opportunity to learn about the arts and to make connections to language, math, science and social studies through the arts, we believe that we help them to develop their minds more fully and to experience the world more broadly.