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The Innocent Eye

This book is as fascinating as it it gorgeous. Did you know that many major, modernist painters were not only interested in children's art, but used it as a model and inspiration for their own paintings? Picasso, Kandinsky, Chagall and Miro were all avid collectors, observers, and protectors of children's art. I love showing the paintings in it to children and trying to guess which works are by 'famous artists' and which are by youngsters; It's tougher than you might think.

Ten Lessons

Ten Lessons the Arts Teach
1. The arts teach children to make good judgements about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgement rather than rules that prevail.
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
4. The arts teach children that complex forms of problem solving are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that words do not, in their literal form or number, exhaust what we can know.
6. The arts teach children that small differences can have large effects.
7. The arts teach children to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe to be important.
Elliot Eisner, a professor of education and art at Stanford University, from Beyond Creating: The Place for Art in American Schools, 1985, p.69

Orange Zest

One of the most inspiring places for children I know is paper scissors Oranges. Simply magical, authentically creative, and very beautiful, it is the work of Susanna Carrillo and lots of little ones in Darien, CT. www.paperscissorsoranges.com

Every Child Is An Artist

Clementine Art nurtures a process that has all but vanished from the lives of modern, busy children; the process of real creativity.

Children are naturally creative. Picasso said “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Too often, activities for children ask too little of them. “Follow these directions and you’ll get a glass jar filled with layers of colored sand.” Pretty? maybe, creative? no. Widely used crafts like these miss an important opportunity to support children in the creative process: nourishing both right and left brain abilities to dream, brainstorm, plan, problem-solve, synthesize, interpret, express and execute an original vision.

The word ‘creative’ has become a ubiquitous buzzword, plastered on children’s products from craft kits to math games, but the essence of the word; the power and ability to invent, is missing from the outcome. In order for an activity to support the development of real creativity, it must allow children the space, materials, support and respect to engage in the creative process; a process that involves the invention of something new.

What makes an activity creative? Children's work is creative when it:
  1. Is open-ended: Children are in charge of the outcome, regardless of what the outcome looks like.
  2. Engages imagination and feelings: Children have an opportunity to discover what it is they want to say, and how they want to say it.
  3. Emphasizes the process: The act of creating supports organizational, problem-solving, social, motor, science skills, literacy, and much more.
Children who are engaged and supported in creative thinking, glow, hum and shine. The act of creation is natural, joyful, nourishing, and developmental for children.