Tuesday, October 02, 2012
The Important Thing....
I was walking to lunch today when one of our parents stopped me in the hallway, "Are you Mr. Gaw? I want to talk with you." "Yes, I'm Mr. Gaw. How can I help you (Hoping this was going to not be a discussion about paint stained clothing)?" "My son is Johnny Smith, (not his real name) a first grader in Mrs. Johnson's class." "Oh yes, I know Johnny." Johnny's mother was very serious, "I don't know what goes on in your art room but my son has introduced his little sister to a new game at home." "Really?" I wondered aloud. "Yes, it's a game called, 'let's play art class! They spend hours in the play room drawing and making art."
I was so thrilled to hear another story from a parent about the connection between children's home and school art making. I have heard this response from significant numbers of parents of children who attend our art program before. It is a response that is heaven to my ears. It means the joyful approach to learning that we employ here in our choice based art program is doing exactly what we intended. Supporting children's interests and passions while connecting to art education content, and promoting artistic behaviors. The important thing? Ensuring children leave the art room with memorable learning experiences that leaves them wanting to experience art education more. As my friend and colleague Dale Zalmstra reflects: "Making sure children love art and consider themselves artists.(1)" That is the important thing.
(1) The Learner-Directed Classroom: Developing Creative Thinking Skills Through Art, Teachers College Press, "The Important Thing," 2012