Last weekend, we put on a “Mini Camp” at CIAMO, a three-day long camp model that gave a group of 30 kids a taste of the full CIAMO experience. Our hope is that the camp will entice the students to explore the arts as well as encourage their parents to understand the important role of arts education in the development of their children.
Every day began with warm-ups that involved yoga and vocal exercises. In the domain of the performing arts, the children had the chance to learn traditional Mina rhythm with local artists Joseph Mahinou and Sim De Souza. They also learned to tell stories and create skits in Fon and French. Each skit ended with a song that reinforced the moral of the story. They danced too! With both Sarah and Sim, the students learned country line dancing and some improvisatory dancing techniques too.
In the domain of visual art, the kids learned about color mixing by creating Mondrian style collages and by learning traditional cloth dying from Sarah and local artist Paschal Avokpo. They also made trash into treasure by experimenting with paper bead-making and by doing decoupage on calabashes using old magazines. The last day, the kids used their newly acquired color knowledge to create beautiful paintings spanning 3 yards.
The experience ended with a closing ceremony. The kids were proud to show their parents everything they learned during the camp. Parents were equally proud and impressed with their work. They are already asking to sign up their children for the coming school year. Mission accomplished!