Back in 2015 we launched our first Art Explorers summer camp in Wapping, East London with a small group of kids, three brave Art teachers and tight budget for Art materials. We managed to create awesome artworks and to make unforgettable visits to various Art museums. The experience was so meaningful and fun for both teachers and campers that we decided to keep running every half term. Today, two years apart, almost 100 children have passed by our holiday Art camp and 90% of them join again every half term. We are a very small Art project, we open places for only 12 children each day to be able to spend time with each kid and to personalise the experience. At this camp, kids will learn a lot about Art, exploring famous artworks and creating their own ones.
We are a child-led camp, that means that we let children make their own decisions and take risks, they are free to join the activities they are interested in or spend the whole day playing. We have a no-screen policy and we usually don’t allow toys at the camp, so kids end up playing using their imagination or creating toys with the materials provided (natural materials such rocks, leaves, sticks and Art materials like clay, string, tape, paper, staples…) Teachers propose ideas and the plan for the day trip at the start of the day and children add their own ideas as well, together we create the schedule for the day.
When visiting Art museums with children we encourage them to question what they see using games, crafts and treasure hunts, we let them express themselves using Art materials creatively after getting inspiration from famous artists. We want them to think by themselves, to be able to express ideas through an artwork and, most important of all, to empathise with artworks made by others.
We don’t want them to copy what they see but to create a personal response. This is a difficult and long process that we, LEMON teachers, tackle with enthusiasm every half term, sometimes we fail and children are not interested at all, sometimes we get a fabulous response. We know this work we do with the kids will only be seen in the long run but we’re sure it’s worth it.