I grew up in the United Kingdom, and immigrated to the USA when I was 19. After attending several different colleges over a number of years, I finally received my BA degree and began teaching children with special needs. However before I got my teaching degree I was a substitute teacher, and got hired to teach art classes in an elementary school in Southern California.
The goal of this pilot program was to determine what kind of impact creative expression might have on the academic lives of elementary school students. For six months I taught children how to enhance their drawing and painting skills by providing a nurturing, fun, and supportive environment. My goal was to empower these children through their creativity, and in turn improve their self confidence and self esteem…
After several weeks of working with these students, a number of teachers from other classes began seeking me out. They wanted to let me know of the changes that were taking place in many of their students. The grades of failing students began to improve. Shy students began to volunteer answers. Students with behavior problems seemed calmer, and more able to control their emotions. Classrooms were becoming a more peaceful place, because students were treating each other with more respect and kindness.
What I learned from these students was life-changing! By providing a safe and caring outlet for self-expression, children of various ages were able to not only access their creativity, but also able to slowly work through academic and behavioral problems, along with some very difficult issues in their personal lives.
After seeing the amazing impact that my teaching of “Art from the Heart” had on the lives of children, I decided that I wanted to not only continue to make a difference in the lives of children, but also in the elderly population—seniors in assisted living facilities who are often forgotten, but have lessons to teach us from the “school of life”. Just as every season has its own time and beauty, so every season in our lives has lessons to teach us about the inner beauty of a person that far outweighs their outer frailties.
So after retiring as a Special Education teacher, I finally moved away from Southern California to live near my two wonderful grandchildren in Idaho. Besides tutoring children online with their homework, I enjoy teaching art classes at the Senior Center and an assisted living facility in the area. I’ve found that teaching art to the elderly helps them not only age with grace, but also provides them with an opportunity to express themselves creatively. What better way to face the challenges that lie ahead of us than to paint a picture of what is in our hearts today.
Also, I'm hoping to lend some of my Art Work to the children's ward of the hospital here in town for a display. I think it would be a nice way to bless the children and their families, and perhaps even the nurses, too, with encouraging and beautiful messages of hope through art.♥