ABOUT ART ZONE
The Art Zone was founded in May 2003 by Laura Krug, MA. In her own words. . .
" I loved art as a child. Like most adults, I lost my connection to art and creativity after college when I learned to join the "real world." I worked in Real Estate, Business Management and Accounting. When my son was born, I became fascinated with child development. When he was just 6 months old, I pulled out the paints and began playing with art materials with my son.
I visited my aunt, Barbara Blades, an artist and art educator working in Chicago. She showed me a book titled "Doing Art Together" about the parent and child art workshop taught at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was hooked.
I approached the local parks and recreation departments with a proposal to teach a "parent and me" art class based on the "Doing Art Together" program. It was a hit. I was also asked to teach other "mommy and me" play-based classes as well. During these classes, parents would ask me important questions about child development. It was then that I realized that I needed some formal training. I left my "real job" to go back to school and study child development. It was a new dream to follow: to provide optimal child development in a setting with lots of art making. I earned my Masters in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Early Childhood.
During my field study, I met the most amazing woman, Ruth Beaglehole who talked about applying the principles of nonviolence to child raising. She is brilliant; has the most amazing vision for optimal child development, and remains my mentor to this day. All that I have learned from Ruth, I do my very best to apply at every level of the Art Zone. At the Art Zone, we use the creative process combined with the philosophy of nonviolence to provide optimal child development services for you and your child.
You can not have optimal child development without supporting parents to do thier job well. Ruth has created a wonderful parent training curriculum. Through the non-profit agency she founded,(www.theechocenter.org) she is training thousands of parents and hundreds of parent educators, therapist, and social workers to teach nonviolent parenting and education philosophy. I am a certified by Echo Parenting and Education to provide training in nonviolent parenting. It is a joy to bring this training to our community. I am so grateful to have amazing
work that I love on so many levels, each and every day."
Julie Hernandez, Teacher and Administrator
Julie started at the Art Zone as a volunteer. (Her mother is a close friend of Laura's; they used to teach together at Ruth Beaglehole's Los Angeles Teen Parenting Center.) Julie has been surrounded by the nonviolent parenting philosophy since she was an infant. Julie is studying child development at El Camino. For many years, she worked at the child care at Echo Parenting and Education in Echo Park. She brings joy, songs and stories alive at our preschool on Monday and Wednesday, and is a Summer Camp teacher. She is a gifted educator, uniquely qualified to provide nonviolent childcare to our community. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and is working with Laura to bring more spanish language into the programs we offer at Art Zone. Many of our songs and stories are being presented in Spanish.
Lydia Blanco, Teacher
Lydia became permanent staff in Summer of 2010 after almost a year working for us part time. She is a sensitive and talented teacher with a passion for our mission of changing the way children are raised. She completed her AA degree in child development in 2010. Lydia completed the ten week series in nonviolent parenting at Echo Parenting and Education in 2011. Lydia is bilingual in English and Spanish and chose to enroll in Echo Parenting and Education training offered in Spanish, her first language. For many Art Zone childcare providers and parents who share Spanish as thier first language, Lydia offers her insights to the Spanish Language option of nonviolent training experience. Together with Laura and Julie, she is helping us to raise consciousness around the issues of anti-bias with a focus on anti-racism and anti-classism. She is dedicated to the practice of nonviolence each and every day at Art Zone.
What ages are the kids who come to Art Zone?: At the Art Zone you will find children from a wide range of mixed ages from toddlers through elementary school. Kids under 2.5 start with the Open Studio time. At Open Studio all the ages mix together. I have seen kids from age 1 to age 14 playing together at Open Studio. Our Preschool starts at age 2.5 and goes to age 5. Art Camps, Parents Night Out and Art Class are drop off programs that children can begin at age 3. These drop off programs have a wide age range, typically from 3 to 9 years old and sometimes up to 12 years old. Birthday Parties start at age two!
Do the adults stay with the kids? The Art Zone offers both an adult participation program (see Open Studio) and drop off programs. Drop off programs start with children ages 2.5 (see Preschool and Co-op). Art Class, Art Camp and Parent's Nite Out are drop off programs for children ages 3 and up. At Birthday Parties, parents usually stay with the kids until about age 6. At 5 year old birthday parties, some parents start to drop off. By age 6, many kids (and parents) are happy to say good-bye.
Do I need a reservation? Please call ahead for a reservation anytime you plan to leave your child for a drop-off class or camp. On the other hand, our Open Studio program is a drop- in program and reservations are not required. Please see the Open Studio schedule for times. Open Studio times are the best time to pop in, poke around, and check out our studio.
How should I dress my kids? While all our paints are washable from clothing, please be prepared for messy fun. Kids rarely enjoy wearing the aprons we provide, so dress them in an old shirt you don't care about. If your child loves water play you may want to bring extra clothes too! Water sandals are a smart idea. We are a shoe optional environment.
Can I bring snacks? You are welcome to bring snacks, juice etc. to help keep your child comfortable during their play time. When eating or drinking, we request that children please sit. You are welcome to use any table (the clay table is usually the least messy). Please no food or drinks in the playroom, please.
Where can I change a diaper? We have a changing table near the back of the Art Zone, opposite of the squirting nook.
What are the rules about wearing dress up clothes? Please encourage kids to try on costumes and help them play pretend! It is ok with us when children take off their clothes in the playroom to wear the costumes. (We ask kids to keep on their underwear). We have a basket for shoes they take they take off, so shoes don't get lost in the playroom. We try to keep the dress up clothes in the playroom, however we are flexile about this guideline, because we know how much children love the costumes. If a child is going to paint or finger paint then it is probably a good idea to take it off, or put one of our big shirts over. If a child is sitting working with clay or beading, the dress up costume probably won't get paint on it. The problem is that kids move so fast. Please help us keep goo off the dress up clothes and keep the dress up clothes out of the spray paint nook and water-room. Please help us keep the wood trains out of the water room too.
Are there any tips about the goo? The goo can stick to fabrics and carpet. It can also stick in a child's hair, so its probably a good idea not to let them put it on their head. Some kids love to do this. If it does happen, not to worry, we have vinegar in the bathroom, which will dissolve the goo from hair and clothes. Please help us keep the goo at the goo table.
The goo can make wonderful "waterfalls" when kids set it up to fall off the edge of the table. Try it sometime! When you do this, put a plastic tray on the floor under the "waterfall" as it puddles to the ground.
What do the kids do? Children express their creativity in many different forms of play and they need of rich variety of activities. The Art Zone is arranged into several centers, described below, for kids to explore at their own pace.
The Playroom: We offer a playroom with dress up, books, tambourines and bells, trains and tracks, block play, tea sets etc. The play house offers a rich opportunity for imaginary play and is often used as a pirate ship, a theatre, a castle, a space ship, a store, a restaurant and more!
The Easels: Three easels are always available for painting with tempera and brushes. The easel area is often used for finger painting, foot painting, stencil painting, roller painting and more. School age children may be inspired by a piece of work they see in the studio and can create a painting based on this.
The Goo Table: Our "goo" table has a silly putty-like substance also known as gak, for kids to stretch, push, tear, cut and pound. We make the goo ourselves and we make a different color each week. The kids (and grown-ups) love it so much we can't put it away.
To make your own Goo:
Step 1. Mix 1/2 cup white glue with 1/2 cup of water. Add color (food color, liquid water color paint, poster paint or tempera paint).
Step 2. In a separate cup, dissolve 1 tablespoon of Borax in 1 cup of hot water.
Step 3. Pour the glue/water mixture into the borax/water mixture and kneed for two minutes.
Warning: Goo can stick to rugs, furniture and clothing. White vinegar will dissolve goo and remove it from clothing etc.
The Art Tables: The Art Zone staff sets up about three different art tables each with its own project or experiment. Clay is always available for kids to shape, decorate, poke and sculpt with beads, toothpicks, pipe cleaners and a sometimes a variety of recyclable materials. Projects rotated on the other tables include as stamping, beading, collage, balloon painting, marble painting, printing boards, roller painting, watercolor painting, card making and more.
The Spray Paint Nook: Children love to spray water color paint in squirt bottles on the windows and walls of this little nook and wipe them down with squeegees. Always messy, always fun. All paint is washable from clothing.
The Mud Kitchen/Water Room: Sensory water and sand play is highly enriching at any age. The kids are in mud kitchen heaven in this specialized room with free flowing water, sand, dishes, buckets and pots & pans. If your kids love water play, wear water sandals and bring an extra change of clothes. We provide towels and have some "crocks" sandals on hand.