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ART | Art class for preschoolers : TREE (1)

Art nurtures soul. Most of us know that, but only some of us give importance to an art class. It is true that early childhood kids are naturally interested in art. They enjoy scribbling, coloring and drawing. They are full of imagination but, sadly, it slowly fades away when they grow up and enroll to a school. Formal education does not allow enough time for this gift from nature to grow. Art call for preschoolers tries its best to keep this creative seed alive and to provide room for it to grow strong in adulthood’s wind.

Each term covers 8 sessions which focuses on different particular theme. For this term we talked about trees. By this I did not mean that we asked students to sketch trees as how we saw them. Rather, we had trees as a main source of inspiration for our art work, studying them through process of art making. There are still very few experiences in their lives to cognitively process conceptual idea. As a result, first-handed experiences are crucial for this age group. They learn best by seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, sensing them in a way most appropriate.

The whole trees were deconstructed into simpler forms which are easier for kids to appreciate. The whole class went out to our garden to look at real trees. They could go to the trees as close as they wanted, touching or hugging them. They were encouraged by teachers to follow the tree trunk and branches with their hands drawing in the air following the contour of the trees. They were told to look up and observe curve and criss-cross lines of branches, strong thick lines of trunks, small dots of leaves and beautiful color of flowers. Apart from observing the trees in the arts center’s garden, kids also had a chance to see photos of trees from other parts of the world. From real trees and photos of trees, we saw straight lines, curve lines, wavy lines, and zig-zag lines. Some lines were short, while some lines were long. Some were thick, and some were thin.

The next learning process is to translate all those lines onto paper. It was the most difficult part out of the whole process. The young artists tried drawing many kinds of lines, thick and thin, long and short, straight and curve, curly and wavy. They tried on different kinds of paper, different sizes, different textures, and different colors, using various tools and mediums. Actually this was a process of sharping their skill which could be tedious but with a sense of a playful experiment together with story telling, kids were engaged throughout. We spent a few sessions for this practice and at the end of the terms, each student had quite a number of different paper with many kinds of lines on them, including big mahjong paper which was bigger than kids themselves. It is a collection of lines of each individual not just practicing paper. You can think of these lines as alphabets. To be able to make words, you need to know the alphabets first. Similarly, to make art works, it is easier if you have some collection of lines ready to be used.

Next blog I will show you how the young artists put together their artistic mark making to turn them into artwork.

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COMPANY RHS | It is all about energy. It is all about mind.

Our contemporary dance company has a training class 4 days a week. One out of four is a body conditioning class. We do a lot of cardio and weight training. Our rehearsal director has a lot of administrative works to do recently, so it is always me who has to lead this class. But not for the class 2 weeks ago. I asked my colleague to lead the class as I felt very tired and (I hate to admit that I also felt) lazy.

My colleague is a fantastic dancer with a lot of experiences. She joined the company around the same time as me. Just only because my English is better so my director let me lead the class (and rehearsals, sometimes) more often than her. Normally, in the body conditioning class which I led, I always felt her energy was a bit low or because she saved her energy, but not in this particular session. When she led the class, she was full of energy and could do more than what she normally did. What’s more, it was me who was not able to perform as good as how I normally was when I led the class. Every session, I could psych myself up before we started push-ups which I counted loudly for everyone, and I ended up with more energy at the end of the class than when we started. But for this session, that energy kept going down and down.

I asked my colleague after the class how she felt. Not surprising, she said she felt she had more energy than usual. What I learned from that day was that working out has a lot to do with mind. It’s a mental work as well as a physical work. When you know you are leading, you prepare your mind so you have enough energy for yourself and everyone under your leading. You call for 32 push-ups and hold in a plank position for 64 counts and you know that you can’t fail. The only choice you have is to complete it. You’ve prepared your mind. 

So it is about mind. The mind has an absolute control over energy. If you don’t control your mind, it will control you (quoted from my Indian yoga teacher). It is the mind telling you that you can or cannot do. If you do it, you have to have already known that you CAN because it is the only way to succeed in that particular task. You don’t have to be a leader. You just really need to tell yourself that to complete the task is the only one choice you have.

it's good to be crazy. Craziness lifts energy high up.

It’s good to be crazy. Craziness lifts energy up high.

Cute time. Eh, cute?

Cute time. Eh, cute?

Yoga is always a good cross training

Yoga is always a good cross training

Me

Me

And then see what happens.

🙂