Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh The Places Sarah Has Been. . .

The summer vacation is a great time for us at CIAMO to reach out to other parts of Benin. In-between my class schedule I was able to attend a few different summer camps around the country. One in Bante, one in Parakou, and one in Bohicon.

These summer camps were focused around empowerment, gender equality, life skills, and basic health but it’s always important to include creative thinking and problem solving skills. That’s where I came in.

At three separate camps I taught four art sessions to over 100 students between the ages of eleven and eighteen. We talked about the basic principals of color and design and I gave them plenty of time to be creative.

It’s such a rewarding experience to hear that gasp of confusion and joy the first time a student mixes two primary colors to make a secondary color. (ex: yellow + red = orange) It never gets old seeing the inspiration on their faces as their eyes are opened to a whole new way of seeing the world.

The mixing of primary colors isn’t just for fun though. It’s a great analogy to life. If this color of green is made up of different parts and amounts of blue and yellow, then it means that every situation and problem has different facets and is made up of many different sides and possible solutions. Thus creative problem solving skills are developed.

Even though I only got to work with these students for a few days, their critical thinking skills and creativity were sparked. They fell in love with art and design and I fell in love with them in return. Check out a few of the happy and enthralled faces from my sessions that without CIAMO and your support wouldn’t have been possible.

Sarah Ellison, Art Teacher

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