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The Eight Best Ways for Children to Learn About Art

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As I stood looking at an exhibit of toddler art on the wall of my school one day, the parent standing next to me said, “This rivals an installation at the Museum of Modern Art”. It was true; all of the elements of form color and texture were there, and not the work of a seasoned and acclaimed artists of our time, but rather created unselfconsciously by two year old children.

This is a testament to the creative spirit of all human beings, which can be seen most clearly in the creative prowess of a young child. The natural qualities of childhood are the building blocks of this creativity – their physicality, their openness, their present-ness, their insatiable curiosity. Read more

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How to Inspire Your Child’s Creative Genius

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Young children are creative dynamos. They surpass adults in their openness to possibility and their willingness to explore without fear. If you give toddlers a drum they immediately create rhythms on it; if you give them paint and a brush they instantaneously drip and rub and mix. In my experience, when most adults sit down in the same kind of open-ended situation, they worry about what they are supposed to do.

Toddlers and preschoolers do not share that worry. They are unmistakably ‘in the moment’. They don’t yet have a firm understanding of the past or the future. While this may present challenges for parenting, it uniquely situates the child for exploration of art and music. As Picasso said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Read more

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The Eight Best Ways for Children to Learn About Music

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Ever since researchers discovered that fetuses respond to sound in the sixth month of pregnancy, there have been those in the baby biz that have tried to capitalize on this information. New parents have been manipulated to feel that they need to engage in some sort of special stimulation of their unborn child to build a ‘better’ baby. Or once born, parents feel compelled to buy special CDs and music videos that purport to make their baby smarter. And through my experience as a music educator I know that many parents worry if their child doesn’t start playing an instrument at three years old they will somehow fail to develop to their full potential. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read more

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Paper Bird Toy Art Project

It may still be winter, but you can bring a little spring time into your home with this at home art project. Print out the bird image on your home printer (use heavier paper or card stock if you have it) cut it out and assemble. Don’t have a printer? Stop in at the school, we have extra copies!

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9 Tips on Handeling Preschool Separation with Your Kids

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It’s a process, for both children and adults. I sat in the lobby of my daughter’s preschool for two months, just in case she might need me, in case she came out looking for me. The director of the school finally came to me one day and said gently, “You know, I think she’s fine.” She was fine – I was the one with the separation issue.

Everyone’s situation is unique. Some parents need to drop their children off and run to work. Others have caregivers that can hang around until the child seems comfortable. Others still may want to sit in the lobby for a while, like I did with my daughter. Every situation is workable, and it’s important for both children and grown-ups to feel like they own the process to a certain extent. Read more

Five tips for introducing your child to photography

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For as long as cameras have existed children have loved photography. It is a fast and accessible way to create, and the ability to directly abstract the world in which we live is priceless.  These characteristics make it a perfect medium for young artists to express themselves and investigate the world around them.  Parents often ask how to go about introducing their children to the subject and how to help them make better images. Here are a few tips that I implement in my photo classes for kids and that will help yours learn about the art and their camera.

1. Get a camera. Depending on the age of your photographer, camera choice doesn’t matter as much as it will after they have been shooting for a while and start to develop preferences. Younger photographers are more interested in a camera that fits their hands and doesn’t weigh too much, as opposed to the newest and best DSLR. Older photographers can handle the weight of the larger cameras, but as beginners it’s still not necessary to break the bank on an expensive piece of technology. Read more

What is the Dalcroze Method?

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Church Street School’s music classes incorporate The Dalcroze Method, a whole-body music education technique created by a Swiss composer, musician and educator in the early twentieth century. Today Church Street School founder and director, Lisa Ecklund-Flores, describes why the method is an incredible tool for teaching music.

“I know, because I have experienced.”

This famous quote from Emil Jaques-Dalcroze[1] captures perfectly the basis of his method.  It is the student’s physical experience of musical concepts that builds strong musicianship.  “Not just brainwork or fingerwork, but ear, mind and body working together.” These are the fundamental tenets of The Dalcroze method. Read more

Church Street at Home: Vortex Art Project

Stuck inside as the weather turns cooler with little ones to amuse? At Church Street School for Music and Art, we are all about open-ended art projects that get kids engaged in creative thinking and experimentation while having fun. We call this process-based art and it’s the perfect thing for entertaining young ones on a chilly day.

Today we are going to walk you through the steps of making a classic process-based art project. We sometimes call these vortexes, but you could call them whatever you like because it’s all about the creative journey and not what it’s supposed to look like in the end.. Read more

Buying Your Child’s First Guitar

A No-nonsense Guide from Toby Wine, Director of Music

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As Music Director and a guitar teacher at Church Street School for Music and Art, parents often seek my advice regarding the purchase of their child’s first guitar. There are many variables to consider in navigating all the choices and those combined with with your child’s requests, sales pitches and budget restraints can be a little overwhelming! The good news is, a little research and preparation will make the process easier and most importantly, will help you get a great instrument into your student’s eager hands!

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