Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working with Children

I was updating my Practice.ie profile and putting an photo up and it got me thinking I need to say a bit more about the type of work I have done with children and can do with children. Children and entrepreneur's have this really interesting link for me. I suppose they function on a level of creativity that is open and embracing, in the last two years a significant portion of my community arts practice has been based in working with both of these groups.

I have a broad perspective on my arts practice and follow with interest how communities and networks develop and in supporting the individuals creative process.

In children that can be so rewarding and heart breaking at the same time. The 'I'm no good at art' is very tough to hear from a six year old. So I like to provide really different learning opportunities for kids to open up a lateral approach towards creativity and the arts. I like to push boundaries on what art materials are and on what an 'artist' is and does. I suppose that is one reason why I normalise being an artist I want to make it accessible.

With children I have a particular interest in encouraging them to make things; through introducing basic 'make and do' I move them through exploring tradtional art materials and recycled materials to more complex construction. I also have an interest in traditional crafts and skills; felt making, knitting and stitching, gardening and education through outdoor environments. I create projects with and in schools plus group classes at the studio that explore some or all of these elements. From making a 3D intial, making robots with string and cardboard, to building and planting a school garden, to each child planting a spring bulb in a spiral, to planting rainbows, making trees for the library - to exploring communication and personal space through clay and the list goes on (as in more to post, more to follow on).

Another aspect of my work with children is based in their development and learning about groups and their personal space. Introducing playful exercises and creative journeys for children to explore artistically, personally and physically. This work includes workshops like ‘This is me’ about personal space suitable for Senior Infants up where the children explore a series of exercises like ‘take a line for a walk’, ‘this is my scribble’, ‘I am a seed’ to developing awareness about personal space and making a carpet in ‘this is me’. I mix movement, mime, yogic relaxation and grounding techniques, creative visualisation, colour, art materials, games and facilitation. The workshops are designed for children with mixed abilities and age groups. They can also be effective in dealing with issues around acceptance, special needs, bullying and staying safe.

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