IN THE CLASSROOM:

The 5- and 6-year-olds moved methodically between paint dishes and water buckets at a kindergarten art class Thursday, too focused on their dipping and dabbing to stop and talk.

“I want it to look pretty,” said Nicholas Geraci, 5, as he zipped between a water bucket at the end of his table and back to his art project.

He dipped his brush into a pool of yellow paint, streaked another stripe onto a developing rainbow and darted back to the water bucket, holding his paintbrush upright as he proceeded on his mission.

The rest of the class at Holy Family Grade School moved in careful organization, too, with students in uniforms brushing a color onto their pieces, then turning with their brushes upright like musketeers, moving with purpose to water buckets at the end of their tables, and finally returning to use another color.

“There’s some discipline to it, even though it’s fun,” art teacher Debbie Massa said.

Students were focused and working quietly because they were having fun, which is a critical component of kindergarten art, Massa said.

“That’s the most important thing,” she said. “If they don’t have fun in kindergarten, then they are somewhat timid or afraid in first grade. The main thing in kindergarten is to give them the idea that [art is] going to be fun.”

Massa doesn’t focus on teaching art styles or techniques to her kindergarten class, but does teach them organization, which students respect and find enjoyable, she said.

It was a little too enjoyable for some of the students when cleanup time came around.

The children were working together to fold plastic table covers when one pair of students began to wave a plastic sheet, prompting an outburst of violent sheet waving and laughter before Massa began playing her xylophone in an effort to redirect the focus of the class.

But temporary lapses aside, the organization of Massa’s class gives students responsibility and, most importantly, keeps them clean, she said.

“I didn’t see anybody get really dirty, so that means it was a successful class,” she said.

Students were beginning a project to make trading cards, using paper cutouts and watercolors.

Some children painted flowers and others made pumpkins, doors or polka-dot designs.

The class will complete the project after several sessions, during which students will add decorations and clippings of animals or photos from magazines.

When the cards are done, the children will be able to trade theirs with students in other grades, as a way to share their work and appreciate that of others, Massa said.

The project was interesting enough to keep students engaged and creating their own designs, Massa said.

Christian Nicola, 6, decided to paint a careful set of stripes onto his cards, while classmate Edzel Fortin, 5, chose to mix as many colors as he could into one greenish, brownish, grayish block, giggling as he worked.

Myla Ceralde, 5, drew hearts and a flower on her cards.

She enjoyed the activity because she liked art.

“It’s nice to paint,” she said, before turning away to march back to the water bucket at the end of her table.

KIDS TALK BACK

The Glendale News-Press visited a kindergarten art class at Holy Family Grade School and asked students, “Why do you like art class?”

“Because I like to decorate things.”

VIVIEN BALUYOT, 5

Glendale

“Because it’s fun. Because you could draw whatever you want.”

EMMA PAJA, 5

Glendale

“Because it’s nice to paint.”

MYLA CERALDE, 5

Los Angeles

“I like doing painting.”

NICHOLAS GERACI, 5

Los Angeles

“You get to paint. It’s fun.”

BRENT ALPUERTO, 5

Arleta


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