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House of Gaia puzzle
The benefits of art are many: fosters brain development, develops critical thinking skills and helps children express themselves when they don’t have the verbal skills to do so. Children can benefit from art education through school and at home. The following local groups are providing creative art education that benefit their participants and our community.
NICU Sibling Scrapbooking Program at Golisano Children’s Hospital
Parents spend months getting their child ready for a sibling but when the baby is born early or ill and can’t come home it can be traumatic and confusing for the older sibling. According to Pat Dolce, public affairs specialist at Golisano Children’s Hospital of SW Florida, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Sibling Program “makes having a new sibling a little more real for the child.”
On Tuesdays evenings between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., a small group of children ages 3-12, along with their parents, gather in a conference room at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Ft. Myers. The children have one thing in common–they each have a newborn sibling in the NICU.
During the course of the evening, an art therapist and volunteers educate the children on how their siblings are being taken care of and what it will be like in the NICU. The group starts with a simple art project–usually a family drawing, which gives the therapist insight into how the children are reacting to their new brother or sister.
The children scrub up carefully, get gowned and then are allowed into the NICU to see and sometimes touch and hold their brothers or sisters. While the meetings are being held, volunteers take photos of the family time and have them printed.
Once the visit is complete, the children head back to the conference room and create scrapbook pages combining the photos with their drawings. The hard-bound photo albums are the child’s to keep as a special momento.
Children can attend the sessions as many times as they would like–as long as their siblings remain in NICU. There is no fee for the program.
For more information on the NICU Sibling Program, contact Michele M. King, director, Child Advocacy Program at (239) 343-5890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naples Christian AcademyZentangle Portraits
Barbara McWilliams is the Art Teacher( K-8) and Missions Program Coordinator at Naples Christian Academy. It isn’t always easy to keep 8th graders interested in art class but art teacher Barbara McWilliams uses innovative projects to grab and keep her students’ attention at Naples Christian Academy.
Zentangle portraits is just one example of such projects. During the eight 45-minute classes spent on the portraits, McWilliams’ students “never wavered in their focus or interest.”
McWilliams took side-view digital pictures of each student and then blew them up on the copier. The students used those pictures as a base for their drawing outline. They filled in the heads with intricate designs using black Sharpies. The portraits give the students lots of room for creativity and individuality.
“This project was equally embraced by those who were less confident in their art abilities and those who love to really get into their art projects hook, line and sinker,” McWilliams says. “It was also wonderful to see the camaraderie as they viewed each other’s projects and encouraged each other and voiced their amazement at someone’s beautiful or creative design.” One of the students even received special recognition at Artis Naples for his portrait.
The students in the upcoming eighth grade class already have asked if they can do the same project. “I know as a teacher that I have home run when the students from one class beg to do what another class has done, and want to create a legacy project,” McWilliams says. “That tells me they are already engaged and their creative juices are ready to be put to the task.”
Naples Christian Academy is located at 3161 Santa Barbara Blvd, Naples. Call (239) 455-1080 for additional information.
ARTScool Arts Program
A national coalition of educators, artists and scientists are proposing a different approach to science, technology, engineering and math education, commonly known as STEM. Add the arts to the mix, and make it STEAM.
Locally, ARTScool at The Von Liebig Art Center incorporates a rigorous STEAM-led approach to arts education that facilitates learning in a fun and academic environment for children ages 5-14.
Two examples of the integration of academics and engagement in ARTScool are the Engineering with LEGO® Bricks and Express Yourself, Impress Everyone classes. In Engineering with LEGO® Bricks, students develop a model vehicle with considerations to aesthetics and performance. Students discuss methods of making the vehicle fast, including tire size, aerodynamics and momentum. After creating original models, students test for speed, modify designs based on the results, and retest.
Students participating in Express Yourself, Impress Everyone discuss translating emotions into imagery. They think about and discuss how each emotion may be represented by color. Then, they learn about mixing primary colors to create secondary colors. That lesson includes scientific information regarding light and chemistry. After mixing their own colors, representative of emotions, students create a work with emphasis on the narrative value of color and shape. The instructor guides students on methods of impressionist and expressionist techniques with classical examples of each.
ARTScool curriculum provides project-based learning incorporating several disciplines. Students create projects that combine subjects like math, science, language, history, technology, art, and design. The multidisciplinary approach helps students understand how to apply concepts and use their knowledge in real world settings. Projects include designing and constructing buildings, creating kaleidoscopes, and building robots, to name a few.
Classes are held throughout the summer as well as in December in the holiday ARTScool program.
For more information contact Shea Lindner, communications and programs manager, at (239) 262-6517.
Community Puzzle at House of Gaia
One hundred children, ages 3 to 10, spent 5 weeks this summer building a giant collage puzzle at House of Gaia’s Trade Center Way studio.
The idea for the project came from a summer camp leadership meeting where the theme “Summer in Wonderland” was chosen and the project planned.
The children used various recycled materials including magazine photos, fabric, and drawings to assemble the 10 x 12 foot puzzle.
The project started with the children discussing their ideas which allowed them to work on communication skills. Teachers wanted to be sure that each child had a chance to share their ideas.
Once the work began, each child participated in different ways: painting, gluing, finding pictures, creating characters and drawing.
The project mission of teaching leadership skills and the importance of working as a community was realized as the children worked together refining their work.
The final work of art can be seen at House of Gaia at 1660 Trade Center Way, Naples. For more information on House of Gaia, call (239) 272-6152 or check houseofgaia.org.