My little guy had a rough start at school. For the first few years, he wouldn’t speak (at school) in front of any teacher. We worked with his teachers (excellent teachers!), and specialists and educated ourselves about selective mutism and how to help our little guy cope better with this anxiety. This year – his third grade- was different.
From the start, Mr. Stewart made it very clear that he was very passionate about art and insisted that children need to be exposed to art. In fact, he integrated his curriculum whenever possible with visual art. He arranged artist visits in the classroom, and took the class to the Hamilton Art Gallery on five separate trips where they toured the exhibits, and created art themselves inspired by a variety of genres. He found time to do teach students to think and reflect about art and he made the realize that every single creation was unique and special. He integrated current technologies such as digital cameras, and the Livescribe Pen to allow students to reflect and talk about their art and critique the art of others. As his year culminates to an end, Mr. Stewart invited the school community to an art show where he and his students stood proudly in front of their art.
But this passion – this education that he gave my child extends far beyond the classroom. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine excitedly invited me over to show me the art that she had recently purchased. She was so proud. So thrilled. It was a fine piece of art. As I examined the print, trying to figure it out, my eight year old boy, stepped up and confidently blurted out, “Wow, it’s a Norval Morisseau, Mom!”. I didn’t know who that was. Then, a few days later, as we toured the famous Hamilton North End’s Art Crawl, over and over my son made connections to Matisse, Carrriere, Group of Seven, Norval. In awe, I watched him examine the art wondering what he was thinking. Then, one of the artists approached him and said, “Amazing – you know so much about art.”. My son, who had never spoken to a stranger before, looked at the artist and said, “My teacher showed me”. I was so proud. Thank You Mr. Stewart – You impacted our son in a great way.