It often seems to me that books for kids have been dumbed down – wasting the great learning potential of our little ones. I try to compensate, supplementing our hands-on science with vocabulary from high school textbooks, for instance.
So I was thrilled with K/1 teacher Eleanor Palm’s approach to teaching the alphabet. Instead of “A is for Apple,” she decided to introduce great “thinkers” to her students – scientists, artists, writers – using stories and exercises inspired by their lives and work.
ArtObet shares that innovation with children beyond the reach of Ms. Palm’s classroom. This DVD is comprised of 26 chapters about 26 artists – one for each letter of the alphabet. There is an intro to the artist, examples of his or her work, and a poem to help the child easily remember key facts about the artist and his or her art. You can show your child a chapter at a time, following it with related activities. Ms. Palm gives some ideas in the Extras section of the DVD, including re-creating a work of art or making up a story about it.
Or, you can just let your child watch the whole DVD over and over, as my daughter has begged to do. Her favorite part is the witty dialogue between magical babysitter and kids in the intro to each artist. It’s also fun to watch the kids model various postures and scenes from the artwork.
I love the history and geography my 4yo is effortlessly picking up, as the artists come from a range of time periods and countries. The personal tidbits, such as Auguste Rodin’s blindness leading to his work with clay, make the artwork more meaningful and help your child realize that art is an expression of the person, not just a reproduction of reality. This is important to perfectionists like my daughter, who don’t want to create art if they can’t make it “exactly like the photograph.”
Recommended for ages 3-8, ArtObet is simple to add to an existing art curriculum. It also has enough substance to serve as the core for a year of art study if desired, fitting easily into a letter-of-the-week type of program.
It is definitely a welcome addition to our homeschool library, with a thumbs-up from Dad, Mom, and 4yo!
ArtObet: A magical adventure of artists from A to Z!
It was a quiet afternoon, not much to do but hang out with friends and a favorite babysitter. Add a box of magical beads, an enchanted magnifying glass, and a skateboarding cohort, and these kids are off to discover an ArtObet, a world of great artists from A to Z. With engaging stories, beautiful paintings, period music and easily chanted poems, children everywhere can join the adventure. ArtObet was created by two moms, one an innovative teacher who created an original early reading program, and the other an award-winning filmmaker. ArtObet is the first in the Little Great Thinkers™ Series created to inspire the great thinker in us all.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Little Great Thinkers for a copy of the DVD in exchange for an unbiased review, and to Heart of the Matter Online for coordinating the review. All opinions are our own.