The Art Zone offers a fun-filled and exciting arts-based environment filled with friendly people, endless paint, goo, dress up, sparkles and glue. It's all put together in a thoughtful way to nurture children’s creative life. Curiosity and friendship are highly valued here; they are the driving forces of experimentation, imaginative play, discovery and creative expression.
Our "free to be me" approach sets the stage for kids to explore their own natural curiosity. We expand limitations so kids can act on their curiosity and take explorations further than it is usually possible in a tidy home or classroom. Let us help you with their endless hunger for learning and let us take care of the mess that often goes with it.
Nonviolence in Childraising: Laura Krug based the philosophy of programs at the Art Zone, on the work of Ruth Beaglehole, founder of the The Echo Center, formerly known as Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting (CNVEP), a nonprofit parenting education organization. The Art Zone has integrated Beaglehole's groundbreaking work in early childhood into all the programs at the studio. All of the key teachers at the Art Zone attend training from The Echo Center and are skilled in their practice of this approach. It is critical to state that Nonviolence is not permissive childraising. We hold limits for children at the Art Zone. Limits that meet needs for safety, for socialization, and that communicate our values. The boundaries are communicated in a way to support the scaffolding of their development. Limits for children are held with empathy and full acceptance of the strong feelings children express in response to the limits.
From The Echo Center, (formerly known as CNVEP):
The term "nonviolence" describes a commitment to treat oneself and others with deep respect. It is a belief in the basic goodness that exists in all living things. Nonviolence is an all-encompassing perspective. It includes our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. What we think and say matter.
The philosophy and practice of nonviolence in parenting applies the ideas of nonviolence to the relationship between children and the adults responsible for raising them. Drawing from over four decades of research on parenting approaches, child development and brain development, The Echo Center's (formerly CNVEP) philosophy is based on empathy, connection and compassion in order to deepen adult-child relationships. The adult-child connection allows the child to learn to be a caring and empathetic human being, fulfilling his or her own dreams and wishes, at the same time supporting the dreams and wishes of others. We are raising children with care. We are raising children to care.
The kids love the Art Zone so much, but all they do is play. How is that good for them?
Child development research shows that young children's brains, bodies, and hearts grow best through loving relationships and meaningful hands on play. When children experience loving empathetic care and guidance, combined with play experiences that match their love of learning and inner curriosity, it creates the optimal environment for human development. The Art Zone provides this optimal environment. All the play opportunities are creative, open-ended and highly enriching. We hold a broad view of creativity, which includes all forms of play. More importantly, the Art Zone staff offer a haven from the external voices and pressures that can make it very difficult for a child to hear and grow their inner creative and emotional life.
The Art Zone is a friendly and social environment. We strive to create a social setting where kids feel safe and respected. With this foundation, kids can enjoy the abundance of creative choices; painting, clay play and sculptures, glue and collage, beading, stamping, printing, drawing, dress up, water play, kitchen and more.
At the Art Zone we use the power of knowledge and the science of child development to create an optimal environment for your child's growing brain, heart and body. Through supportive relationships, with joy and creativity we help grow smart and successful kids.
Will they be taught "real" art lessons?
We don't have restrictive rules about how art "should" be done. Kids invent and explore and amaze us each and everyday. We believe the teachers' role is to observe, get to know the child well, and develop connected relationships with kids. Then teachers have the knowledge to engage and draw out kid's ideas. Teachers coach, consult and collaborate to support the child's internal motivation. When kids are excited and they are wanting adult coaching to facilitate their art making and their other creative play, we provide it. When they don't need it or want it, we step back and watch their creative work unfold.
Laura Krug discusses "Behavior Issues" from the approach of nonviolence.
Most children who come to the Art Zone have a wonderful experience of joy and wonder in an environment built just for them. I see much love and strong emotional foundations that parents and caregivers have instilled in kids. Your hard work really shows. Almost all of the time, children are busy, active and joyful.
Children bring all of their joy and struggles to the Art Zone. You may have heard me say to a child "It’s ok to cry at the Art Zone. You are allowed to have all your feelings here." I do not see a child's behavior as either "good or bad." I see all behaviors as communication of thier needs. Behavior is an expression of a child's needs and feelings at the moment. When a child's immediate needs are being met (connection, hunger, rest, attention, play, comfort, etc.), the behavior tells us so. When a child's immediate needs are not being met (play is frustrated, attention is diverted, child is disconnected, uncomfortable, hungry, tired, etc.) then their behavior will let us know. Children do not whine, grab things, hit, throw or scream to drive adults crazy on purpose. They simply have not yet mastered emotional regulation and the maturity to control their behavioral impulses and understand their needs. Growing up takes a long time. The human brain is not fully developed until around age 25. A two year old can not say, " Excuse me Daddy, I have been playing for a long time now, and I am feeling tired. Will you please stop talking to that other grown up, give me a hug, pick me up and take me to the car, change my diaper and feed me lunch. Please Daddy?"
Emotional intelligence and self-esteem are supported by accepting adults who embrace and support all feelings that are alive for the child in the moment, for as long as they are alive. Empathy and guidance are needed from grown ups to help the child develop the behavior controls and emotional regulation that adults are striving to develop.
We can help children to develop emotional intelligence by 1) Observing without judgement, 2) Naming their feelings and needs in the moment ... sad, angry, disappointed, excited, etc. 3) Giving empathy, comfort, eye to eye connection to help them to calm down, 4) Engage with kindness. Connect feelings to their needs "You felt sad when it was time to leave. You really love to play. " and 5) Developing solutions: Help them express their need "You need some time to be upset until you feel better." Developing solutions may involve holding limits that meet their needs for safety and healthy socialization.
Sharing: Sharing is a heartfelt joy of giving something to somebody with the intent to bring joy to the other person. Two year olds are capable of giving joy authentically - when they are ready on their terms. It does not happen on demand by telling children they have to "share." It happens when children are ready.
To teach children to understand other people’s needs they must first have their needs met. Playing with a toy is a child’s active investigation of how the world works, a very important need for young children. When children know they will be protected to have their toy to work with for as long as they need to learn from it they experience getting their needs met. It is from this joyful experience that sharing can eventually develop. As adults we need to let go of our adult idea of what is fair. Melody Elder, a highly respected child development coach in the Southbay, once told me that a child needs to experience ownership, before he can experience sharing.
Empathy Books: At the Art Zone we write books for kids to help them process and understand their feelings and needs, building their emotional intelligence. We call them "Empathy Books". Please read MAKING BOOKS WITH CHILDREN.DOC
http://www.theechocenter.org (formerly known as CNVEP)
Recommended reading list:
All About Love by bell hooks
Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh
Boys of Few Words by Adam Cox
Boys Will be Men by Paul Kivel
Change your Brain, Change your Life by D. Amen
Connection Parenting: Parenting through Connection instead of Coercion by Pam Leo
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
Everyday Blessings - The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla & Jon Kabat-Zinn
For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child rearing and the Roots of Violence by A. Miller
From Magical Child to Magical Teen by Joseph Chilton Pearce
Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn
How to Talk so Kids will Listen, Listen so Kids will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
How to Talk so Kids will Learn by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce
Our Babies, Ourselves, How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small
Paradise Paradigm by G.D. Allport
Parenting for a Peaceful World by Robin Grille
Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell
Pathways to Peace by Victor La Cerva
Peace Quest by Mitch Hall
Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman
Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort
Siblings Without Rivalry by Elaine Mazlish
Stepchildren Speak by Susan Philips
Teaching Children Self-Discipline by T. Gordon
The No-cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
The Secret Message of Shame: Pathways to Hope and Healing by Patricia & Ronald Potter-Effron
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
What's Going on in There by Lisa Eliot
You Can Control Your Anger by B. Borcherdt