It was a regular yet irregular weekday afternoon – while I was at work and the wife was held up in office too (it was both our hectic season). When she finally stepped home, she was pleasantly surprised to see Dana quietly drawing at the dining table – she was midway through her personal rendition of Piere Auguste Renoir’s ‘Auvers sur Oise’, tracing the lines which would eventually be the rolling landscape dotted with lush green trees accentuated by white fluffy clouds against the blue sky. The wife promptly equipped her with her paintbrush and water colour and before long…what was once a white piece of drawing paper became a snapshot of a French countryside.
Looking at it when I returned from work that evening, though it was far from the original, for me as a parent, the value of it far exceeds that of an actual Renoir.
Such is the value of these enrichment activities – to empower, to equip, to expose. We will never know when these lessons will eventually be part of your child’s psyche, empowering your child to meaningfully engage in a constructive activity to create, offering her an alternative medium of creative expression.
We enrolled Dana in Abrakadoodle programmes since she was 2. It used to be weekly art class but due to scheduling issues, we now could afford to send her during the vacation breaks. Abrakadoodle is one of the few holiday enrichment programmes we have consistently sent her for the past few years. The approaches adopted in Abrakadoodle resonate with our outlook towards an arts enrichment class which are:
1) Benchmarking with the best
2) Age-appropriate and student-centred teaching
3) Collaborative teaching and learning strategies
4) Character building
5) Providing rigour through exhibition
|Original artwork done entirely by the children on the Wall of Fame…|
|Our budding artist and her ‘Tree of Life’…|
|Sharing the techniques used to complete this Jackson Pollock art piece…|
|Gallery Time – a ‘Show & Tell’ trademark of all Abrakadoodle Camps|
Classes at Abrakadoodle are helmed by qualified instructors who understand children and are able to motivate them to express their creativity. Themed lessons offer children the opportunities to be exposed to the works of iconic artists. For this particular ‘Kids on Canvas’ Art Camp, Dana and ehr friends were introduced to works by Renoirt, Jackson Pollock, Amelia Pelaez, Katsuhiko Hibino among others. The instructors guided them patiently to replicate simple and achievable works while sharing with them short biographies and special techniques made famous by these artists in the process! Most of all, the lessons are fun and the children always look forward to returning the next day.
What makes Abrakadoodle distinct from other art centers is that students’ works would be either painted on actual canvas or mounted in a special die-cut frame for display, giving them a more professional artistic feel. Children would then have to conduct a gallery walk for their parents on the last session and do a short ‘Gallery Time’ on their chosen piece – a hallmark of Abrakadoodle that instills confidence and pride in their art pieces – to me, this gives a fitting conclusion to the lessons.
Instructors at the Marine Parade (Laguna Park) Studio uphold the high expectations we have of Abrakadoodle – they were friendly, approachable yet effective in their classroom management and teaching styles (As educators, trust me when I say we have high expectations of these enrichment providers and Abrakadoodles’ never fail to deliver).
Another added bonus is that the Marine Parade (Laguna Park) Studio is a convenient location for parents to drop their children and hop on down to Parkway Parade for some retail therapy or just wait around while browsing the few shops at this Laguna Park Condominium. The natural and spacious surroundings offer a tranquil setting for children to learn and adults to relax. If you feel like ‘celebrating’ as what we did after the children’s gallery walk, you can dine at the famous Diamond Kitchen Seafood Restaurant (two doors away) that serves really tasty Chinese cuisines. Parking is free by the way (another big bonus for us parents who drive!). Meaningful exposure, like these ones provided at Abrakadoodle is important for young children. Though we may not see immediate tangible outcomes, when the time is right, these traits will manifest in a myriad of positive qualities that we can never quantify.
|Tree of Life – powered by love in the centre of it all…|
|Dana’s Renoir’s ‘Auvers sur Oise’|
|The satisfaction in seeing their artwork displayed on the wall…|
|Happy Kids on Canvas campers!|
|We love the cosy studio at Abrakadoodle Marine Parade (Laguna Park)!|
Here are some personal testimonies from Dana, her friends Maegan & Meredith and their Mommy Daphne:
“I enjoy the lessons at Abrakadoodle because I get to learn different ways of painting and there’s face painting on the last day! My favourite artist is Jackson Pollock because it’s fun to splatter and drip paint on white canvas.” – Dana Joy Sim, 6
“I really enjoyed learning to draw on canvas and painting the background, foreground and middle ground. I also learnt drawing techniques such as short stroke and broad stroke and using thick and thin paint. My favourite artist is Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a French artist and I drew one of my favourite pieces after learning about him. “ – Maegan Tan Ee Ning, 7+
“I like the Abrakadoodle art camp ‘Kids on Canvas’ because we get to do nice stuff like painting. My favourite artist is Amelia Pelaez from Cuba. I also enjoyed learning about Katsuhiko Hibino and his popular square clock which I made using art decoration and a picture of a rainbow as the face of the clock.” – Meredith Tan Shi Ning, 6
“It is not often that we have the opportunity for the girls to learn about contemporary and master artists from different parts of the world such as Cuba, Japan and France. After the five days, the girls were proud to present their paintings which they used their imagination to create based on the techniques employed in the works of these artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Chuck Close, Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollack. Each piece was unique and a special peek into the creative window of each child’s mind and how they interpreted the techniques they were taught. It was a perfect combination of artistic creativity and technique discipline, facilitated by two very vibrant teachers at the Abrakadoodle Art Studio at Marine Parade. ” – Daphne Tan, Mom of Maegan and Meredith
|Maegan, Meredith with Teacher Pat…|
|Dana with Teacher Pat…|
Abrakadoodle is located at Cluny Court, Rochestor Mall and also Marine Parade (Laguna Park). They conduct art classes, art camps and art parties. To celebrate the new opening of the Marine Parade (Laguna Park) studio, two lucky PrincessDanaDiaries readers will each win a sponsored Abrakadoodle 3 day Art Camp (worth SGD300) for one child!
The camp will be held at the Marine Parade (Laguna Park) Studio during the upcoming June vacation (You may check the camp schedules here). Simply follow the steps below to enter:
This giveaway is only open to readers from Singapore and ends 1159 hours on Wednesday, 30 April 2014. All the best!
Disclaimer: Dana was invited to attend the Kids on Canvas Art Camp for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all photos and opinions, are as usual, ours.