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Category Archives: Child Arts and Creativity

The Kids Mantra of Creativity

Children perceive the world in a different light. Their ways of conceiving and articulating reality are disruptive of current meanings and contexts. Their ideas are spontaneous and engaging and highly sophisticated in a mythical sense. In fact, their peculiar genius inspired Einstein’s innovative and scientific work in Physics (the thought of “riding on a light beam” inspired him, thus, expanded his earlier theory of light and realized that the realm of the imaginative is far more deeper and superior than commonsense) and, of course, Pablo Picasso’s cubism and stunning transmutations adopted childlike methods of revealing truths from within and without. Equally impressive stories are intellectual giants Rabindranath Tagore (who wrote 2,500 songs and the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature) and Macrohistorian PR Sarkar (composed 5,000 songs, more or less, and known today as the Renaissance man of India) are known to have mapped out their visions of human civilization (futures) at an early age. Stirred by the creativity of the child, Sigmund Freud theorized that “every child at play behaves like the creative writer who creates a world of his own and rearranges things in a new way that pleases him.”

That's right! That is the San Nicolas Public Elementary School and the road to excellence starts here!

Noting Freud’s conjectures, I and my humanities students went to San Nicolas Central Elementary School (one of the municipalities of Ilocos Norte, located at the northernmost part of the Philippines) and organized the third installment of the Crayon Dreams creativity experiment. This time we used clays, papers, crayons as art materials and pick out pre-schoool  and kindergarten kids (3-7 years old) as participants. Our objective was to observe pre-school artists at work and know their process of imagining and creating art works and other stuff. Also, we took note of their energy-filled forms of fun and expressions as they mold their clays and colored their ideas into reality.

The artists and the leaders! We got the whole world here and now!

This is how we do it! The chant of our Revolution is Fun! Fun! Fun! and Play! Play! Play!

The futures of this province are imagining the future! Hey! its my process of self-discovery!

After 2-3 hours of awe inspiring fun and play, we learned that the child processes of creativity are:

  •   Collaboration. Kids’ likes to “making pakialam”, “make kwento”, “make pahiram” and show their ideas and encourage other kids to mold create and play at the same time. These suggest that collaboration implies multitasking and open-mindedness.Their creative methods endorsed partnership, relationship, association and play as part of the creative process.

Shaping the meaning of Clay!

  •  Penetrating mindfulness and curiosity. Awareness is fixed on the target and they are keenly aware of what’s going on. They listen attentively to instructions, we did explained, described our purpose (they have the right to know that), and patiently waited (of course they were jumping and excited) until they got their clays and art materials. Initially, they were creating on their own but after a few minutes, perhaps  trying to figure out what to do with their clays, shared and illustrated, by using hand gestures, their ideas. These suggest that children are mindful of their environment and others.  While they were curious of our presence, they were not intimidated. The absence of anxiety and the courage to participate are, we think, essential elements of the creative process.

The Flowers in my mind! There it is!

  • They play no rules and just want to “Do it!” Sounds like the eternal Nike metaphor “Just do it”? Yes it is! The will to create, to act speaks louder than ideas.For them these things – “free will” and “imagination”- are inseparable. Pablo Picasso knew that when he said “what you imagine is real”.  This is an interminable babyhood mantra of creativity! “Imagination is real!” and with “action” (and not “acting”) everything is possible! Action is precisely the ultimate measure of creativity. The kids had this formula in mind I supposed Create + Activity = Creativity.

There you are! My World View!

  •  Don’t teach me technique. Let me use my intuition. Children are good at inventing and reinventing things. Their innocence and their unique worldview grows with them. They perceive the world in a special way. Some sort of intuiting things to discover their unique self and the unique world around them. Their internal intelligence (quite strong) guided them in the process of creating. Their perception is natural and their intuition is just amazing. Let us not teach them techniques.

Yummy Artworks! Nope, you can't eat that!

Let me use my intuition!

The Weapons of Intuition!

There we are!

Nurture me!

Imitation is not natural! creativity is...

Its possible! to create!

This is not a birthday party! Investing in the arts is not expensive!

All photos by Ms. Lorie Jane Dancel and Ces Carino. Facilitated by Ms. Eva Tacata. A project of the Humanities class under Prof. Shermon Cruz of Northwestern University AY 2011-2012.

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Crayon Dreams

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Pablo Picasso

 

Scribbles, circular edges, lines and distorted shapes represent the ‘visual optimism’ of the child. Drawn in bright colored crayons, about 150 public school children signed up when my Humanities class at Northwestern University organized a public school based ‘child art’ project.

Dubbed as ‘Crayon Dreams’, the objective was to experience and learn first-hand the concept of ‘meaning through exaggeration’ and ‘symmetry’ in child art and to reach out to children in need by providing them avenues of expression, empowerment and hope.

Crayons and colored clays were used as art materials. Also, the children had poetry, essay writing and community singing activities. The ‘child artist’ received gifts and recognition for their art works and participation.

Triggered by emotion, bright colors and their preference for happiness and excitement, the children ages 3-12 years old created a total of 100 drawings, essays and poetries. Crayon dreams encouraged the children to open up and use their soaring imaginations in different ways. The kids were asked to explain some of their drawings. One of the child art participant, a grade 6 pupil said, “in drawing ko daytoy gapu ta kayat kunto ti agbalin nga policeman tapnu matiliw ken maibalud dagiti agtaktakaw ti gobyerno, dagiti ti criminal ken agpalpaltug ti kalsada” (I draw this because I wanted to become a policeman someday and arrest corrupt government officials, criminals and gun for hires). Likewise, a grade 4 pupil describing her work believed that by becoming a Supreme Court Justice she would have the opportunity to help the country in the future.

According to http://www.users.totalise.co.uk/~kbroom/lecturelist.htm ‘the elongated arms, hands, faces, and distorted shapes and lines in their drawings indicate the child’s interests and awareness to concept forming, thinking, awareness of feelings and perceptual development.’ The site deduced that child art is all about concept formation and meaning through exaggeration.

Sublime thoughts, heroism, sacrifice, service, helping the family, justice, fighting criminality, poverty, building a house, believing in oneself echoed in most of the children artworks. Most of their artworks demonstrated individuality, creativity and imagination.

Also, we had the opportunity to meet and discuss with the teachers, school principals and supervisors about the status of arts education in public schools. We took note of the issues affecting arts education in the schools concerned namely the Bingao Elementary School (San Nicolas), San Nicolas Central Schools (San Nicolas) and Gabu Elementary School (Laoag City). Issues and concerns were the lack of arts education teach time and facilities, lack of musical instruments, shortage of teachers trained in the arts, costumes for theater, volunteers, art materials like crayons, colored chalks, pencils, clays, expensive art materials, lack of art books, etc.

The experience gave us the opportunity to learn and appreciate the arts and creativity of the child. The spontaneity of children’s art was remarkable.

As one arts and creativity blogger put it, child art, like most child behavior, is direct and uncensored. A young child doesn’t critique his work – he paints freely and with pleasure, enjoying the fine and gross motor experience of moving paint over paper and watching lines, shapes and colors come to life. Art puts a child in the “driver’s seat” and provides freedom: the freedom of choice, thought and feeling.” (http://artandcreativity.blogspot.com/2006/09/what-is-child-art.html)

 

Anna Reyner, a renowned professor in child arts suggested the following to encourage creativity when organizing child arts projects:

Take time with a child’s art
Show respect for the art and the artist’s process

Comment on lines, shapes and colors: “I see you used three colors.”
Show curiosity: “How did you get this effect here?”
Comment on changes: “You’re drawings look bigger these days.”
Ask open ended questions: “Will you tell me about your picture?”
Provide fuel for creativity: “What other materials do you need?”
Collect recycled boxes, tubes, lumber scraps. Make 3-D creations
Provide a variety of drawing, painting and clay materials
Avoid coloring books

 

And of course, parent involvement is essential in nurturing child creativity.

Let us nurture our children with positive thoughts and sublime ideas!

Thanks to Angel Raquino, Darwin Cadiz, Jennifer Andres, Lorie Jane Dancel  for the amazing photos! Ms. Eva Tacata, Gilbert Gasmen, Sheryl Delacruz, Jennifer Andres and to all the Humanities students of Northwestern University of SY 2011 Good Job!, Mr. Rakesh Handa, a local entrpreneu for sponsoring erasers,  snacks.


I will be uploading more photos soon…

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Child Arts and Creativity

 

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