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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Art from the heART

Our older son Z attended his first art class two days ago.

And we were excited; perhaps more excited than he was.



We had secured an arrangement with heART Studio, a local art enrichment centre, for Z to attend one term of classes, and we were apprehensive about how he would respond.

When we entered heART Studio, the sign above the main door, "Teaching art from the heart", was a reassuring sight. We had previously read about the philosophy behind the centre (found on its website): 

We believe that Art allows children to explore new worlds and to view life from another perspective. Art also encourages individuals to sharpen their skills and to nurture their imagination and intellect.  Involvement in the arts is also associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork.On Top of that heART Studio also impart Life’s Skills through Art and We want everyone who come through our doors to learn more than great drawing and painting technical skills but also valuable Life and Character Building Skills.  


Nestled in a quiet residential district, the studio was a lovely sight to behold.

We were hopeful that the session would be fruitful and that our 3/1/2-year-old would be in good hands!

We were surprised at the onset that there were only four students in the class - we had earlier been informed that class size would be large as this was a crowded session. But with two teachers to four students, the 1:2 ratio was very comfortable. We later realised that the arrangement would allow one teacher to conduct the main lesson, allowing the second teacher the flexibility to manage any potentially difficult issues that could arise from an active preschooler class.


A cosy ratio of 1 Teacher: 2 Students
The main teacher Syafiq started with a discussion on animals and engaged the children by relating them to animals they have seen at the zoo. He then went on to provide interesting animal facts, such as which was the fastest animal in the world, as well as which animal would look like a horse if it did not have any stripes. It was evident from the response that the children were enjoying the lesson.


Match the animal with its patterned print!
Children were then taught how to draw a zebra, breaking down the animal into its constituent shapes. The "non-artist" in me was impressed by how the kids could easily follow instructions, especially since the lesson was compartmentalised in such a manner. If only I was taught to draw in this way; perhaps I would have become a famous artist. But then again, perhaps not!


The enthusiastic students.
Despite the earnest efforts of the teachers, our son Z seemed unresponsive, preferring to instead observe from the sidelines. It was only after the second teacher JJ offered to teach him how to draw his favourite animal that the 3-year-old seemed to respond more positively. A delighted Z was all smiles when a picture of his favourite Elmer the Patchwork Elephant was printed for him. Although he was still reluctant and had to be "encouraged" to draw, Z finally allowed the teacher to hold his hand and draw together with him, tracing the dotted outlines.


Using Elmer the Patchwork Elephant to teach art.
All in all, we were very pleased at the outcome of the class. We had been apprehensive at first as our son Z tends to be wary of new situations and strangers. However, it was positive that he managed to open up and seemed to be enjoying himself, after the teachers' great patience and perseverance. We are hoping that the class will help him in his enjoyment of art and in the process, and also build up his confidence, improving his fine motor skills and ability to follow instructions.


Teacher JJ patiently coaxes Z to draw.
Our son bounced out of the class grinning, having high-fived both of the teachers on the way out; this from a boy who usually takes a long while to warm up. We were pleased, relieved and hopeful for the lessons to come. After one lesson, heART Studio already seems to embody its motto "Teaching Art from the heART" in the warm, caring and nurturing environment it creates for its students!

Part 2 of the review can be found here.
The journey continues. Click here for Part 3.

Note: This is part of a series of reviews arranged between heART Studio and Parenting on Purpose. Z attended complimentary art lessons for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions expressed here are our own.

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