All children deserve opportunities to explore and be involved in the arts.
The National PTA Reflections program is PTA’s cornerstone arts program. It was developed in 1969 by Colorado’s PTA President Mary Lou Anderson to encourage students to explore their talents and express themselves. Since then, the Reflections Program has inspired millions of students to reflect on a specific theme and create original artwork. Each year, students in Grades Pre-K through 12 are recognized for bringing the theme to life through dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.
In 2012, the Special Artist Division emerged as an optional division for students whose physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges meet ADA guidelines. Please check with your state PTA office regarding state availability, guidelines and rules.
The arts—and the National PTA Reflections program, in particular—can be a valuable tool for building stronger partnerships in your school community. For more information about Reflections and Family-School Partnerships, click here.
- We are proud to share award winning artwork in the categories of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts. Visit our online gallery and learn more about student awards and recognition.
This year's Theme: Let Your Imagination Fly!
Young artists get involved in Reflections through their local PTA or PTSA. A student may submit an entry in any of six arts areas. Only original works of art are accepted. The six art areas are:
- Literature -- works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose, drama, short stories and lyrics.
- Music Composition -- original musical composition, with or without words.
- Photography -- prints up to 11 x 14 inches in color or black and white, including techniques: photogram, retouched, montage, sandwich and multiple exposure.
- Visual Arts -- drawing, painting in tempera, oil, acrylic, watercolor & t-shirt paints, computer generated art, two-dimensional collage, printmaking, needlework & leather tooling.
- Film/Video -- original works, with or without sound, of animation, narrative, documentary, experimental or music video/film.
- Choreography/Dance -- originally choreographed dance composition.
Participation in Reflections is organized by student age and grade levels. 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. The grade divisions are:
- Primary -- Preschool - Grade 2
- Intermediate -- Grades 3 - 5
- Middle/Junior -- Grades 6 - 8
- Senior -- Grades 9 - 12
Entries are judged on creative
ability and interpretation of the theme. The Reflections Program is structured
for PTAs to recognize students at the local, council, state, and national
levels. Entries are first judged at the local level and selected works are
chosen to represent the PTA at each subsequent level. If a PTA is a member of a
county council, they will send the chosen entries to the
county council program according to the guidelines established by their
county council. If a PTA is not a member of a council, they will submit
their entries directly to New Jersey PTA.
Once entries reach the state level, the state PTA may select up to four entries in each of the six arts areas (a total of 24) to submit to the National PTA. National first, second, and third place, and honorable mention entries are recognized at the National PTA Annual Convention.
All PTAs/PTSAs in good standing may sponsor the Reflections Program. Students may only submit entries through a PTA/PTSA. Parent groups not affiliated with the National PTA are not eligible to sponsor this program.
Special Artist Division
The National PTA special artist division is an option for students with a disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Generally, rules and guidelines within the special artists division are intended to ensure accessibility to the National PTA Reflections® program and are modeled after the guidelines outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Who qualifies as a disabled individual under the law?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines an individual with a disability as a person who:
(1) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of that person;
(2) Has a record of such an impairment; or
(3) Is regarded as having such impairment.
Students who identify as having a disability have two ways to enter the National PTA Reflections® program.
Option 1. Enter in special artist division: Qualifying students entering this non-graded division create their own artwork, but may receive non-artistic accommodation and assistance from an adult. At the national level, one special artist from across all arts categories will be selected to receive an Outstanding Interpretation award. Up to five additional special artists may be selected to receive national Awards of Excellence.
Option 2. Enter in traditional grade divisions: Qualifying students follow all arts category rules, and may not receive assistance other than that which is allowed for all children, but do receive accommodation to submit Reflections entries in the grade division most closely aligned to their functional abilities. They are recognized and awarded prizes as part of the general student population without regard to special needs or challenges.
IMPORTANT REFLECTION LINKS: