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Therapeutic Art – What is it all about?

15/07/2013

 

This article is contributed by Rush-Me-Not Art Studio

 

For a child to be holistically educated through visual art, three essential factors contribute to the success of his/her learning experience: the teacher, the learning environment and the curriculum. This article focuses on the complexity and global relevance emphasized in curriculum design for Rush-Me-Not Art Studio’s art programme.

 

Our philosophy in art education stems from a therapeutic approach in the delivery of subject content, where a child is able to create art in a relax, fun and engaging way. But what does ‘engaging’ means? We perceive level of engagement in a child as the ability of a teacher to communicate effectively, or simply, how excited a child is in his/her involvement in class. However, as art educators, we understand that for ‘engagement’ to take place, the lesson content must allow for a child to see relevance in what he/she is doing and also, interesting enough to generate a high level of curiosity. Relevance is when a child is able to correlate their visual senses to their immediate environment and past experiences.

 

Art studios can carry out art exercises with random splashes of colour or non-instructional scribbling to allow the child to “express” him/herself. But how many of these sessions can the art studio conduct? Or simply, would the child be mature enough to understand the underlying meaning behind such artistic processes.

 

A good, in-depth and well thought through art curriculum for children is essential as it maps out the skills, may it be artistic, creative or cognitive, they would harness over their developmental years with an art studio. Rush-Me-Not designs her curriculum for children from age 4 to 14, with progressive development in the level of artistic skills and subject matter.

 

At the early stage of the curriculum, artistic skills are introduced skilfully to prevent marring the child’s interest in art via repetitive, old-styled methodology in drawing and painting. Its core focus is to brew the passion and eagerness in the young ones to look forward to attend every studio session, instead of being dragged to one by the parents. Psychomotor and hand-eye coordination skills are also emphasized in the children’s art-making process to give them the confidence in handling a myriad of art materials and tools.

 

As a child progresses into higher levels, the curriculum emphasizes on inter-disciplinary approach where Geography, Science, Math and History as well as socio-global studies. This approach aims to develop our youth to be global citizens, and to help them discover the aesthetics relevance of visual art in inter-disciplinary subjects as well as cultural appreciation. More advance skills involving research, critical thinking and reflective processes are inter-weaved into the curriculum at a later stage.

 

Last but not least, character development and value inculcation are essence in Rush-Me-Not’s curriculum, where they are being translated into a child’s experience in the art studio. For example, to learn about the Sciences and History through Art, is to learn about respecting our environment and differences in culture. To share a common space in art making, is to learn about responsibility in actions and empathy for others. To be given the opportunity to express oneself to others through Art, is to be given the chance to build ones’ confidence and self-belief.

 

Rush-Me-Not is rooted strongly in it’s belief that a well-designed curriculum with an end in mind, would indefinitely leave a positive imprint in a child’s holistic developmental path for life.

 

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