Creating Awareness by Creating Masterpieces
Glue, collage materials, markers, crayons — is that all that it takes to make an art project? Not in Early Childhood Art Teacher Illia Mazurek's classroom. It takes conversations about culture, biography, nature, and history to bring her young artists' work to fruition. The colorful and delightful projects are only one piece of the end product. The more important result lies in our young Labbies' greater awareness of and compassion for the world and people around them.
A monarch butterfly project takes students on a journey across the hemisphere—from the view out of their own windows on a migratory trip to Mexico and then a full immersion into the relationship between the butterflies' arrival and the Day of the Dead. On this Mexican holiday, the souls of deceased ancestors are welcomed back and many believe the monarch butterflies represent that return on earth. Students' eyes and minds are opened, their curiosity peaked, their awareness heightened. A study of the Watts Towers outside of Los Angeles enables Mazurek to share the biography of an architect who spent his entire lifetime creating "something big" and using repurposed items to do so. It's a lesson in vision, beauty, grit, and triumph. It's an opportunity to explore the dreams of another and to start exploring their own dreams too.
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