YCIS Beijing Students Stay Creative During the Lockdown
Creativity is nurtured in many ways at YCIS Beijing as we continuously embrace and encourage our students to participate in and explore ways of expressing themselves through the arts. An example of this is regular visits from artists through our Fellow-in-Residence Programme. The Covid-19 outbreak has, however, limited access to art classes in the regular sense, but there have still been other ways in which creativity has continued to be facilitated, even during this time.
The lockdown has “forced a major change in our students’ lives, which has proven to be a challenge for some” according to Allison Cusato, YCIS Beijing Secondary school art teacher. Despite these challenges, parents have stepped in and played an important role in ensuring the school continues for their children in some of the most creative ways. “When parents promote creativity, they are encouraging an outlet that students can use to work through these changes in a healthy way.” added Miss Cusato.
When asked why it is important for creativity to be promoted during what has been over two months of the Covid-19 lockdown, she says “Visual Arts provides opportunities for art-making methods that promote a meditative state as well as visual journaling that enables processing changes to their state of being.”
Miss Cusato kicked off her online interactive classes with her Lower Secondary students by focusing on zentangles. “They [zentangles] allow for a review of elements of art and principles of design with the incorporation of meditation.” she stated. “The lesson encouraged students to make their zentangles with Wuhan and Hubei in mind, including messages of encouragement, patience and peace.”
For senior students, she opted to “have them create mind maps and works of art based on their new living and learning situations. Not only does this allow them to see how experiences like this can be used to inspire art, it also allows them to make connections between art and other subjects like science and math.” she elaborated.
For students who did not have access to resources for the abovementioned methods of creating art, she encouraged them to use resources at their disposal such as coffee and cardboard to create their masterpieces.
While eLearning continues, this is how parents can encourage creativity;
•Providing their children with the tools to create. A sketchbook and pencil are a great place to start.
•Ask your children what their favourite art-making media are, then set up a maker space together, which your child can utilize when creating.
•Children who are not drawn to the visual arts may enjoy writing about how their environment is changing or interpreting it through movement. They may also enjoy meditation or music to work times of challenge.
If you are interested in doing some creative activities with your child, below are some resources and tips;
•Zentangles combine drawing and meditation. Creating a Zentangle is the perfect way to destress.
•Colouring books or pages offer a benefit similar to the Zentangle. An online resource for colouring pages is located here
•Paint by Numbers kits are also fun for this and when complete you have a painting to add to your home. These can be found on Taobao
•Children can write about what they are experiencing while illustrating and working through traumatic experiences. A great place to find information and examples of visual journaling is http://www.thevisualjournal.com/
Good luck with exploring your creativity!