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Artful Parenting #2

Is it enough to make art with our kids? Yes and no, yes because whatever works for you and your family is great! We never want to be the parents that judge other parents; every family has to do their own thing. What works for one might not work for others. But to answer the question for us, making art isn't enough. We want to expose the Grundler kids to all kinds of Art and experiences; it boils down to thinking on a deeper level. Do we get to do all of the things we want to with our children? No, but it is all about gaining experiences and allowing our children the chance to make creative choices. This is a skill that must be demonstrated and taught to our children.

Due to their young ages, they are not given all of the power of decision making just yet. Our children are given multiple options that we are comfortable with, in which to make their choices. This is a concept that is commonly used in the philosophy of "Love & Logic".

Many times in our family the choice is not only what kind of art to make, but what kind of art to attend in our community. Being two people in education we often are looking for ways to save a buck or two. So a lot of the the things we do are absolutely free. At the age of 1, taking our son Owen to the Dallas Museum of Art, during the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit. Owen also attended the Middle school presentation of “Seussical the musical”. Our two oldest children attended a middle school play of “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory”. We also have a family of creative people beyond the five of us; Owen was exposed to his first concert at the age of three watching his Uncle James play a gig in Austin while on tour. The entire family attended the Cottonwood Arts Festival; at this event our children were engulfed in a variety of different local artists and many kinds of styles. Owen realized that his style of art might be that of found object sculpture. The more you are exposed to, the more you can make connections to your community and the world around you.

Just recently, we visited the Trammell Crow Asian Art Collection with all three of our children. This visit was lead by Carolyn Armbruster, who values a deeper understanding of observation through the use of “Artfully Thinking”. She had all three kids observing pieces of Asian Art and communicating their inferences about what they were seeing. Not only is there a visual component to this type of deeper observation, but a physical one as well. After given some additional background information about the art, the children were asked to follow along with Carolyn while doing several varying yoga techniques that even our 3 year could accomplish.

As a teacher, I have started to embrace this philosophy of deeper connection in my classroom. So far, I have learned that it is never too late to change. The more often this skill is used, the more the students begin to enjoy and thrive with a more cognisant line of thinking and higher level of observation. Plus, it never hurts to check out the things that are going on around you and let your children gain as many experiences as possible. Take time to see art and embrace culture! Wishing you creative experiences,


Matt & Laura Grundler


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