Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Art in the home and the building of an atelier (ooh la la!)

Since we've decided not to send K to preschool until this fall or next (apparently I've grown comfy with the angst of raising a toddler + infant all day every day), I've been scrambling to help K ward off aimlessness and bordeom at home. I've never been completely at ease with having K watch too much TV because after an hour, she slips into zombie-mode - meaning the light behind her eyes start to dim, lethargy grips her, and brain cells visibly die off due to non-use. I normally don't allow her to watch TV for more than one hour and the TV is not otherwise on (not even for the super bowl! J still hasn't forgiven me.). It doesn't help that J's beloved flatscreen takes up more than half the living room wall - its' presence is dramatic. I wonder about those families who choose not to have TV in their homes and how they otherwise occupy their time. I imagine the children would at the very least have a dedicated art room and it would look something like this:


What child wouldn't be inspired to create, write and imagine in a space like this? More info on the breakdown of this lovely atelier can be found here:http://www.ohdeedoh.com/ohdeedoh/february-jumpstart-2009-entries/how-to-design-a-space-for-playful-learning-mariahs-february-jumpstart-project-2009-077238
I think that children who grow up in the U.S. have little or no exposure to the arts and are not taught to understand the importance of beautiful and natural quality materials (ie. not plastic) compared to their counterparts in Europe. Which is tragic because at what other point in your life do you have more liberty and natural inclination to engage in art (I've observed that young children are naturally and passionately drawn to the act of creating)? Once they embark on becoming schooled in this country, the emphasis will mostly be on rote memorization. So how precious is this time for a child to enjoy, with little inhibition, the wonders of painting, drawing, crafting, writing, etc. - in other words, being creative and expressing their unique selves!
Which is why I'm working on my own little atelier for K. Since my background in art and teaching is nonexistent and I have no natural artistic abilities to speak of, this project may very likely be abandoned in the next five minutes. Abandoned with vigor becuase I'm also contemplating the mess that will come with encouraging art in the home - crayon on the walls, paint on the furniture, oil pastels scattered throughout the house. UGH. The longer I am a mother, the more I am convinced that a full-time maid/housekeeper is the answer to everything.

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