As an avid painter I was really excited about this class and not just because I’d be able to collect precious first artwork, but also because I could learn how to introduce Taylan to art in a more controlled environment, not risking a crazed toddler running riot with paintbrush in hand at home.
From the very first session, Taylan got well and truly stuck into painting. As soon as we’d step into the classroom, I’d barely have a chance to put his protective t-shirt on before he’d be elbow deep in primary colours. Endearing yes, yet this inability to contain himself stirred feelings of panic in my stressed Mummy mind, especially when I’d attempt to tear him away from the most exciting activity ever to wash his hands. A few deep breaths and a decision to let Taylan paint away to his heart’s content later, I tried showing him how to do it calmly.
This class wasn’t just about painting, it was about expanding the creative imagination. Apart from painting eaisles, there were also animals to be made and decorated and collages to be designed and stuck down which fitted weekly themes. These themes flowed from art into music, with songs and stories which further involved the children with the aid of instruments and movement. On the lead up to Christmas there were stained glass style windows to be made and I have to say even I was a little disappointed when tidy up time came around.
As the term went on, my kitchen wall filled with Taylan’s art. His first pieces painted with light accidental marks. Later pieces were deliberately and let’s say, expressively decorated with different coloured strokes. Taylan learned the art of control, when his decorating became more limited to the confines of what it was he was making and not the surrounding surfaces. He gained an understanding of colours and pattern, by mixing both intentionally and accidentally. He was encouraged to share paints with his peers, although this came reluctantly as his excitement refused to wane from week to week . He achieved something by his own doing, and with that his confidence grew.
One of the highlights of this term, for me, came from something completely unrelated to art or music. Rather it came from observing Taylan learning from his peers. As the children tidied away and sat together for a drink and snack before music time, I expected Taylan to throw his cup of water on the table was he did every other week. Taylan has always been repulsed by water or any other liquid which isn’t milk, it has been a massive struggle to get him to drink. I have gone through every means possible to try to encourage his liquid intake ranging from a collection of every baby / toddler / adult cup available on the market, to making concoctions of juices and ice lollies. He just will not drink. After weeks of watching his classmates carefully sip out of cups, to my utter surprise Taylan decided it was time for him to do the same. Sipping water – something so simple yet to me this little action brought tears to my eyes! Not to say from that moment on he loved drinking, but by observing the others it definitely lead to a significant step for him and a considerable relief for me.
Alexia De Angelis – Paint Pots Mum