In a world that’s becoming so competitive, it can get challenging at times for parents to fruitfully engage their children, especially in the creative field.
As grown ups, if we can go through so much pressure, imagine what toddlers and children may be going through. As it is we consider 18 years and above as an ‘adult’, but subconsciously our children are pressurised to be grown ups and be mature even before that.
The day my daughter started playschool, I decided that she should be able to enjoy her childhood to the hilt. As a mother. I realise the importance of a child enjoying the carefree moments of childhood, just the way we grew up – running and romping in the garden, playing with mud, doodling and colouring on walls. Our childhood was different as we did not have technology intervention, but these days, kids have to deal with all of that and much more and that can be quite a pressure on young minds.
But here’s one such art class that believes in the same philosophy about childhoods just like me and it’s called Dot-to-Dot.
The Lifestyle Portal is very happy to share the dreams and aspirations started by these two talented women who decided to extend their beliefs of a happy childhood with other moms and their kids. Read on…
Meet Mumbai-based Palak Raval who along with her co-founder Shuchi Shah run the show of colours and creativity through Dot-to-Dot for toddlers and young children in the neighbourhood.
A Master in Fine Arts with Major in Sculpture, Palak has over 10 years of experience as a practising artist and an educationist, while Shuchi has almost seven years of experience in architecture and interior design. Both being passionate about the love for art and sharing the same knowledge to the young children came together to start Dot-to-Dot.
How did it all begin?
Palak who has been working in the field of art education over a span of six years has observed a significant development in her students through the curriculum. After her daughter’s birth, she could impart the same art education to her, so she sent her to various activity classes, where she met Shuchi.
“But, these activity classes proved to be a let down for us, especially where art and creativity were concerned. Since Shuchi also shared the same interests as me, so we came up with an idea ourselves of conducting a unique Art Class for other kids as well,” recalls Palak.
After having an unsatisfactory experience of the summer activity camps, they strongly believed in beginning with a creative class, for which they planned for over two months and started Dot-to-Dot from August 2016.
“Our initial investment was only for all the art materials required for 3 months i.e. around Rs.35,000/-,” shares Shuchi. She further adds, “Since this is a non-profit venture, we have not considered growth as an income at the moment and hence, we are charging a very nominal fee to the parents.”
Their challenge was not about teaching new things to the children but breaking a preoccupied notion in the parents’ minds about a typical ‘art class’. It was also about convincing them to not to make their children a part of the rat race, but give them a freedom to explore new things at a tender age.
“To overcome this challenge, we presented an art show of the works done by our students in the span of three months where we invited other parents who were not a part of Dot-to-Dot to view our show,” adds Palak.
What makes Dot-to-Dot so unique?
At Dot-to-Dot they believe art is the only field that lets you think ‘out of the box’ and hence their specially designed curriculum for kids help to bring out their creativity and the use of different mediums and materials innovatively.
The curriculum consists of all the basic elements of art where the individual child is focussed upon to explore his/ her own calibre. Dot-to-dot teaches Art, not only as a subject but also helps the child to enhance concentration and develop fine motor skills. Various group activities are conducted which helps to generate and share ideas and it is a first step towards the child’s decision-making ability.
Materials used in the art class
We source our materials from various art and stationery shops, local markets etc. Dot-to-Dot is not bound with a drawing book, pencil, eraser and crayons. But, experiments with a wide range of materials like thread, wool, rags, beads, clay, plaster, charcoal, different textures, paints etc.
Age groups and concepts taught
“Currently we are running different batches for Nursery and Junior and Senior KG children. We usually take 5-6 kids per batch and run across three such batches. The age group of our students are – Nursery -3-4 years and Jr and Sr. Kg. 4-5 years,” explains Shuchi.
She further explains, “Various subjects include basic elements of art like Doodles, Dots, Lines, Shapes, Colours etc. We introduce each topic with a story /poem, followed by a skit performed by kids. We also introduce them to famous artists for each subject, where the kids are encouraged to understand the artists’ thought process through an age appropriate manner. Then they evolve with their interpretation and create their own artwork. At the end of each class, we conduct an Art Appreciation session, where the kids are made to speak about each other’s art work and where these subjects are carried on for a duration of 6-8 sessions.”
Dot-to-Dot plans on working for various NGOs, where their focus will be on conducting art workshops across different age groups. They’re also working on an after school art programme. “Our kids are the key inspiration in starting with Dot-to-Dot, along with our educational qualification and our deep interest in Visual Arts. Now our next level is to reach out to as many kids possible from every walk of life and make a difference,” smiles Palak.
You can get in touch with Palak and Shuchi at:
Address: B/910 Ganpati Towers, Opp. Oberoi Gardens,
Thakur Village, Kandivali (E), Mumbai 400101
Contact: 9819617935 / 9967911918
Email id: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook page: Dot-to-Dot
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