Friday, January 20, 2017

Young at Art - Susan Striker

Interesting read, but far too long.

This is a book by a hard-core artist. The aim is to guide your child from the age of 1 to 7, along the artistic journey while encouraging creativity and independence. I don't think I have even half an artistic bone in my body, so I can't say I instinctively 'get' the art side of it. But what I do get is the very visible effort to encourage exploration, and discourage the imposition of the 'correct' way, the coloring book driven approach.

In general that reflects my own parenting approach. I have always been keen to let s try things on his own, rather than urge him to do things the grown up , accepted way. Whether its the approach to food, ( eating roti with water!) or slides ( going head first right away) or drumming on pans instead of cooking in them.

Is it easy ? Well no, there's a strong urge to tell them - no , you have to sit up on the slide, not go down head first.  No, you eat roti with curry, not dipped in water.  No don't go near the fire.  And we often convince ourselves that we are looking out for their safety, or their skill development. But a little bit of introspection and RCA soon tells me that its not that at all. Its more that conformity seems paramount. For another it helps us feel like we are fulfilling our parental obligations by 'teaching' them something. And a big part is that it makes life simpler for us, more predictable controlled children,  less mess, less oversight , less active engagement required from our side.

I had not logically extended my laissez faire attitude to his coloring, and thats something that I have tried to change after reading the book. Some other tips seem to make sense. Encouraging them to explore different ways of coloring early on ( crayons, water colors, glue, cutting ) .  Encouraging scribbling rather than constantly asking 'what is it' . Introducing 1 color or limited colors at younger ages. Finger painting. Edible paints.

There are very detailed charts about the type of materials , sequence of colors , mixing, song and book suggestions to go with them, all of which are way to detailed for me, perhaps someone with a deeper love of art would get more out of it.

The book tends to get rather repetitive and I feel it could have been shortened. But still interesting.

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