Educare Chicago children learn art from the masters

Young children develop essential life skills through art—and create impressive masterpeices that can be shared with others.

Colorful chalk pastels and famous works of art fill the tables as Educare Chicago children—with looks of inspired concentration and messy hands—craft their own masterpieces.

“This is cool,” reflects one child. “Look at mine!” exclaims another.

Led by Michele Talbot, creator of Kidzaw, children in Educare Chicago’s toddler and preschool classes spent several weeks last spring and summer creating artwork inspired by famous artists, such as Gustav Klimt, Marc Chagall and Vincent van Gogh.

Talbot, an artist from Oak Park, Ill., started working with Educare Chicago children in 2012. By using classics as a jumping off point and then letting the children use their imaginations, she teaches them important art skills, enhanced decision-making skills, and encourages their creativity and exploration of the materials.

“[Young children] discover something new every time they draw another drawing,” Talbot said. “It’s something they can be proud of.”

“Every week when I went into the classroom, we would focus on a different artist,” she said. “I gave [the children] special tools to do their own interpretation of that artist. I would bring in a little children’s book and read about who that person is.”

Talbot’s projects, and other integrated art programs at the Ounce, help young children develop essential social-emotional, language and literacy skills.