Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset

I woke this morning with that Christmas morning feeling you get when you are anticipating joy!
All week we have ART FROM THE HEART classes and I know the atmosphere at ICE will be peaceful, excited and yet strangely calm.
We do a little bit of art in every course we run and of course HEAPS of art in ART FROM THE HEART!
ART should always be from the heart. Art engages the left and right sides of the brain as children imagine, plan, organise, “feel” their way in, create and revise. I love to watch their faces as they engage in art- they GLOW and all concentration and tension issues seem to fly out the window.
Interestingly, the learning that takes place after art is ALWAYS deeper.
Sure issues of low self-esteem, lack of confidence and worries about it not being perfect surface but the art time is a great place for these things to come up and be dealt with. Teachers who help kids engage in art are really not just doing art- they are helping to grow more centred, creative and self-aware people!
Should we ALL be drawing/painting/crafting?
Maybe hardened criminals and terrorists should attend daily art classes! It truly seems to make for calmer, happier children so let’s try it on some big people.
I am starting an ART FROM THE HEART pinterest board today and will be sharing lots of techniques and ideas as well as displaying kids’ work. Please follow and share some of your own creative ideas too!
Let’s make this a week where we ALL indulge in some creative practices and share.


jig 2

I have always loved jigsaw puzzles.

Children learn so much by the manipulation of shapes to create pleasing images.

Recently I watched children complete a simple, colourful jigsaw about the farm.

To complete it they had to think logically and find 4 right-angled corners, border pieces, keep checking the picture and go from large picture to small details. They had to concentrate fully and commit to actually completing the puzzle. So much learning took place!

There were various times when it wasn’t going so well and they had to problem solve and cooperate. There were some cross words as they disagreed on various methods. (It was a large and difficult puzzle for a 3 and 5 year old!)

Finally I watched their increasing concentration and mounting levels of anticipation and excitement as the gaps decreased and the picture came together.

And finally it was done!

One child wanted to rebuild straight away, the other wanted to just enjoy. We are all different!

Then the teacher in me kicked in.
We talked about the content and colours. We counted the animals and talked about the theme of the picture.

It sat on the floor for hours. A proud testament to their ability to stick at something,

Jigsaws are also good for adults. Studies have found that active adults who regularly complete jigsaw puzzles and crosswords experience longer lives and have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s, memory loss, dementia and other problems related to old age.

Dopamine production (crucial for learning and memory) is increased when we do jigsaws. They also increase our concentration, develop creativity and helps us to visualise, lower breath rate, reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
What’s not to like?
Start a jigsaw today!








I am writing this somewhere just north of Australia while idly staring at amazing clouds! As usual up here, ideas flood in because I have created a space- a vacuum for creativity to fill!
So often as teachers we say to children, “Get your head out of the clouds!”
We want kids to be HERE and NOW and with us and not daydreaming but we have taken this too far.
Attention to important things is crucial and we cannot teach effectively without it BUT there must be times when kids have let their attention wander and to wonder, imagine and daydream.
Children who have more time for imagining and daydreaming will be able to think more creatively and generate visual images that help with planning, innovating, seeing new possibilities and writing.
So when can they do this? “Not in MY class!” I can hear you comment! Well- I agree. Not in mine either. BUT – if SOMEONE has let the kids daydream just before I teach them, I have more chance of harnessing their attention and getting them to think creatively.
So, I now always plan a simple, fast art activity just before our skill lessons and it achieves the following:
Helps the kids relax and listen
Allows them to reflect, wonder and process any worrying emotions
Switches on the WHOLE brain so they are ready for new information and problem solving.
Try it. It works. It takes a little time and effort to generate creative activities that don’t take too long but it is ALWAYS worth it! We have set up a Pinterest FAST creative activities so please follow and use!




41835873[1]I LOVE watching children create! This week we have many creative holiday courses at ICE and I am fascinated by the way all kids can comprehend more and write fluently if they are encouraged to use art as a tool to help them learn! Whenever we have these days they are messy, unpredictable, enjoyable but above all filled with learning – and lots of it!

I have never met an uncreative child or an uncreative adult. Art is a wonderful tool for all families and individuals to use to unlock the creative process, improve learning and build self understanding!

Here are a few ideas to get you started- both kids and adults!

* Stop criticising yourself or your child as you draw or create- just enjoy the process!

* Keep a CREATIVITY BOX handy – fill it with crayons, coloured pencils, markers, stickers, a tin of paints and brushes, different sorts of paper, cardboard toilet rolls, old Christmas and Birthday cards, scissors, sticky tape and so on!

* Turn the TV off regularly and get the CREATIVITY BOX out so it is easily accessible.

* Sketch a much loved garden plant- follow every line of stem and leaf so you intimately KNOW the plant- this is sort of like a slowing down and meditation exercise. We often use this with very “sparky-brained” and “wired” children!

* Occasionally turn a drawing upside down to copy it. It encourages very careful copying and seems to suspend the self- criticism voice. You become more aware of the lines, shapes and the results are often quite pleasing!

* Get to art galleries regularly with your children so they can get to see great models and start to develop art appreciation.

* Buy some great kids’ art books- there are many available to help kids get to know artists and learn new techniques.

* When you read to your child  make sure you spend time discussing the illustrations and the style, techniques, colours that have been used by the illustrator. Picture books so often have more information in the pictures than the text!

* Link NATURALIST and VISUAL SPATIAL intelligences by constructing collages with objects found in the natural world such as bark, sand, leaves, berries etc.

* Use chalk on bricks and drive ways to draw. It is completely non- threatening because it can be washed off.

* Make some play-dough or purchase some plasticine and make the main characters from the book you are sharing with your child. This helps them develop characterisation understanding- very important for the writing genre.

* Paint pictures of the settings of stories you read aloud.

There is no doubt that enjoying art- both for yourself and your child, will lead to deeper learning, increased ability to imagine, wonder and dream and higher intra-personal and visual spatial intelligences!



Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)