When I was a little girl, I used to play in the mud, it was such an amazing thing to be able to build almost anything that I set my mind to with just sand and water made perfectly into mud by last night's rain. I can assure you that back then, I did not know the value of what I was doing, I would not have been able to tell you that I am having the ultimate sensory experience, or that I am exploring nature, or that I am learning about concepts such as wet and dry, big and small and all of the foundational stuff in cognitive perceptual development, of fine motor skills of any of the areas of development. I was simply a little girl, passing time, doing something that felt good and happy. Today many years later, my mind is completely overwhelmed by how much more there is to play with for children these days, by how much there is to learn in all of what there is to play with for children these days. You see I have come to look at things as though they are tools, tools intentionally intended to serve a purpose in our lives and existence as they cross our paths, and boy, how many tools children have access to, tools that have the ability to edify and equip them to wholly develop. To, by so much, come to reach their fullest potential. Tools that I have learnt, are not fully explored as means to enhance educational development. Tools that are not intentionally used to highlight the beauty and intelligence of tiny humans through the process of their development. And that is what led me to the creation of "The Harvest".
The Harvest means " A taking away of all things great from a wholesome labour." The potential of children and the capacity of their growth is not optimized. The Harvest is an exploration of an element of teaching that can drastically bring out the best in children and equip them with the kind of knowledge that could greatly improve the chances of successful holistic child development. And that element is ART! The Harvest is an intentional Teaching Initiative that uses creative means to enhance the educational development of Preschoolers. Its mandate is to highlight the role and impact of the arts in whole-child development. it comprises of Targeted development art kits, intentionally put together to address certain developmental drawbacks in each individual child.
I have been so fortunate to have been funded by the National Arts Council (NAC), An agency of the Department of Arts and Culture in South Africa, an organisation whose mission it is to leverage energy, partnerships and resources to develop, support, promote and advance the arts. The NAC coming on board The Harvest, was the spark that ignited the fire of this project and my gratitude for the role it plays in continuing to materialise this initiative goes far beyond what words can cover. The project is blessing a number of children in the community at no cost at all.
So this is the story in my heart today, a story of tiny hands with big hearts and explosively creative minds. A story of stories told by tiny humans, through art, whilst they find their feet and words, their sense of colour and the true image of what warmth looks like and what life feels like. A story about ladies with rainbow dresses and snowman grandfathers sitting on table tops. Kitchen island family portraits, bubble wrapped feet paintings. My story today is about how the arts can transform, inform and open up a portal for us, into the minds and hearts of tiny humans and how the arts can through littles, inspire the kind of looking at things, that our grown up imaginations, have long lost. So much more than this, my story is about how the role and impact of the Arts, Should not be undermined in the educational development of Preschool aged children.
Open yourself up to the messy creations and the drawings on the walls, because beyond that mess, is the expression of a growing tiny human, looking to communicate their minds and hearts the best way they know how. receive it and nurture it into the beauty that it was always meant to be.
Yours in Joy, via the energies of The Harvest, with immeasurable amounts of Love.