Our Approach to Learning

Art and creativity have been integral to human existence since ancient times, evolving alongside the progress of civilization, from the earliest cave paintings to the marvels of modern technology like electric cars. As society places a premium on perfection, we often find ourselves drawn to rigid step-by-step methods and the safety of staying within predefined boundaries. However, these boundaries can stifle the potential for growth and learning that mistakes bring.

To guide our children towards becoming versatile creators, let’s delve into the shared essence of art and creativity. Art, defined as the manifestation of human imagination and creative skill, necessitates the use of original ideas, especially in crafting visual expressions. In contrast, “Craft” primarily hinges on manual skills to replicate a predefined project.

At Hands on Art, our mission revolves around nurturing authenticity, creativity, and originality. Through the process of creation, children harness observation, exploration, and discovery to troubleshoot challenges. Mistakes, far from being deterrents, are embraced as opportunities for groundbreaking innovation.

We underscore the value of mistakes as profound learning tools. One of our fundamental practices involves discouraging the use of erasers during idea brainstorming, favoring iterative refinement instead. Becoming comfortable with the messiness of creation alleviates stress and fosters the development of healthy creative beliefs during formative years.

Years of dedicated research culminated in the Hands on Art teaching approach, aimed at cultivating confident creators. Our instructors seamlessly blend guidance with an immersive art experience. This pedagogical framework hinges on four key stages: Inspire, Demonstrate, Facilitate, and Seal the Learning.

Central to our approach is safeguarding children’s innate creativity and fostering awareness of the multifaceted components in the creative process:

  • Inspiration: Each project commences with thought-provoking questions that tap into memories, emotions, renowned artists, or artistic trends.
  • Problem-Solving: Children are encouraged to explore diverse solutions to challenges that arise during the creation process.
  • Independence: The journey of exploration extends to materials, colors, and techniques, cultivating individualized expression.
  • Risk-Taking: Embracing calculated risks stimulates innovative thinking, and discussions on potential outcomes foster resilience in the face of potential failures or successes.

Innovative thinking flourishes as children push the boundaries of material application, often surprising even our seasoned educators. The notion of effort is pivotal – children develop a solid foundation of self-assurance by wielding control over these artistic elements.

The enduring payoff of sustained creative practice, under the guidance of programs like Hands on Art, is the establishment of a bedrock for confident creators. This invaluable competency accompanies your child throughout their developmental journey, equipping them with a skill set poised for success as they transition into adulthood.

How to know if a program meets Hands on Art teaching Approach?

Before enrolling your child in a program, be vigilant about the projects they’ll be engaging in. If you notice a pattern of only pre-traced projects and step-by-step instructions to replicate a sample image, it’s a red flag! Even though this approach can facilitate the learning of specific techniques and eye/hand coordination, exposing your child to this only approach, can stifle your child’s creativity and their ability to create independently, compromising the authenticity of their art. Such projects can lead to frustration, limit expression for children with varying personalities and abilities, and foster an unrealistic pursuit of perfection by replicating an expert’s prototype. A well balance program will provide a variety of opportunities for your child to develop skills, creativity, problem solving through free exploration and among all authenticity. 

Founded in 2012 by Iraima Otteson, Hands for Art stems from a childhood in Venezuela, where outdoor and indoor adventures fueled her creativity and exploration. Guided by her aunt, an expert in Early Childhood Development, Iraima absorbed insights into human development and interactions with the world. This upbringing nurtured a deep appreciation for child-brain development and an intuitive understanding of how young minds engage in the process of creation.

How to support your child’s creative growth?

Never set expectations on your child’s final product
Remember, your child will create based on their age and skill level. Appreciate their precious scribbles, and blobs, because they will grow out of them quickly.
Avoid drawing for your little one
Drawing for little kids only teaches them the inability to draw like an adult or older sibling. It will create a misconception from a young age.
Scribbles are the early stage of drawing and reading
Appreciate scribbling, like crawling, you don’t want your child to start walking before crawling.
Try not to intervene in your child’s creative process
There is a lot of exploration, problem-solving, and discovery during the process of crating. The real learning experience happens when they are working on their own.
Encourage originality
Display more appreciation for original marks than a copied, beautiful form. Emphasize your admiration for your child’s own ideas, even when those marks might look less refined. Remember, the process to become a creator is more important than the final product. Plus, realistic drawing or painting is not the only form of art.
Lead by example, model what you would like to see in your child. 
Avoid complaining about your inability to do art in front of your child. While you might think you’re busting your child’s confidence, the moment he/she can’t draw the same way as a peer, he will drop the practice of creating.
Pretty, cool or nice isn’t enough!
Show interest in your child’s creation, take a moment and sat with your child and ask questions about the process of how the project was done.
Don’t assume or try to identify forms on your child’s art.
You might be wrong in your perception. Instead, ask questions about simple elements you can identify, it can look something like; can you tell me more about this vertical line, yellow color, circle, etc., and show genuine interest in the response.