Raising Little Picasso: Toddler Art Education
~ An Interview with Susanne Kwok
In your observation, are today’s parents any different from the previous generation, who object to art class and worry about their kids turning into starving artists?
I actually see both. Some parents want their children to acquire as much talents as possible from a very young age, in order to face the challenges in life when they grow up. Some want their children to learn a new discipline of knowledge to help them excel in schoolwork, I even see some parents bring their kids’ school projects for our teachers to teach.
In my opinion, I always emphasize the importance of enjoyment and fun. I also notice that many children today withhold in them a lot of emotional stress, it is through art and drawing that they can express their sentiments and release their energy. I don’t believe that winning award or achieving material success is everything, it is more important to maintain a healthy balance in life.
Any suggestions on where to take our kids for exposure to arts?
For museums, I personally like the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. However, museums may not be suitable or enjoyable for families with very young children. For them, I suggest the Internet. Many websites, such aswww.ART.com, offer a wide variety of art pieces categorized by themes, it is a free resource and always brings me a lot of inspiration.
I also enjoy attending arts festivals. The annual Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach (Orange County) is an excellent choice. The festival is far more than just paintings, it is a gateway to a wide world of arts. The festival lasts over a month, and within it you can see artists engaging in all sorts of creative art activities – – glass painting, carpentry, engrave gem, glass blowing, ceramics, and so on. It is a wonderful event to take your children. Tickets are inexpensive, students and children get discounts too.
Also, whenever I visit San Diego, I always swing by the Spanish Village near Balboa Park. There are over 200 art galleries, showing hundreds of different kinds of art pieces and creations, and all of them are free!
Profile of Susanne Kwok:
- Graduated from Hong Kong Sir Robert Black College of Education , Major in Art & Design
- Graduated with BLA from Regent College in New York, major in Liberal Arts
- Graduated from California State University in LA, Major : CA Teaching Credential program
- Certified teacher with CA Teaching Credential for teaching k-12
- Taught at Alhambra School District from 1992- 2000
- Taught at East Los Angeles College Children Art Program.
- Worked in Art education in Hong Kong and America for more than 20 years
- Director of Rainbow Art since year of 2001
- Susanne is also mother of two children
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