The Art of the Young Learner – two different workshops

It has been a few years since I gave workshops for children. But within the space of a week I gave 6 workshops in two different locations during the Chinese new year festival .

It was good to re-engage with my approach, knowing full well what I needed to provide. How will I manage and contain the exuberance, energy and impatience of the children? Would I remain patient myself in that environment?  Could I nurture the brilliant moments they have and push them on that path when things actually do work out and continue to work out wonderfully? Would I be able to unlock their talent and satisfy their curiosity ?

Teaching at the Tasun Creative Art ……. Most of the students were around six years with a one or two at the ripe old age of 10 years . The teaching assistants were wonderful and everyone was getting the attention they needed. It was amazing to see the confidence  and the decisions that were made and some of them could say why they wanted to add a colour here. Some of these learners had been attending weekly classes since they were 2 or 3 years and the power of education and practise with young learners was clear as day. 

A big thank you for Lv Jianhua of Tasun Creative Art and all his wonderful team of teachers for all their help and assistance during the workshop. They were showing a huge childrens art exhibition called Who am I and they produced a beautiful catalogue  over 312 pages showing artworks and artist statements by children  from 2-13 years old. 

The other side of the town

The other venue I taught was for disadvantaged youth in a childrens’ home in North Beijing. It was a week workshop and it was one busy rollercoaster. The exuberance and excitement was more palpable at this workshop, the age ranges varied as did personalities.  I had one boy who wanted to mitch from the tug of war game outside and help me in the workroom. While he painted on the plastic sheet which covered the window and we could see what was happening in the yard outside. He remained steadfast painting the yellow figures. He knew where he wanted to be . 

One of the things I noticed at the week long workshop was that every kind of personality found themselves in something they made. There were a few really young children so quiet and shy but worked so intensely you knew they had found their world for a while and maybe discovered a part of themselves because of their intense process.

Jelly Prints

A big thank you to Tracy and Shewmay for being such wonderful assistants all week and also to Sally McPherson for taking  such great care of the Sunday class and teaching me about Jelly prints and other useful tricks.

It was a fascinating week and got also to meet amazing adults,  a fun band of talented volunteer teachers were giving other classes at the home which included English Karate Music and Science.

A huge thank you to Roisin Timmins and Susanne Matz for making the winter camp possible and to Director of home Madame Zhang  and teacher Zhang Zhifang for allowing access to the children and trusting us with this program.