Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Interview: Art from the heart with heART Studio founder Rena Chew

I've been sharing a lot about EV's art adventure at heART Studio - the wonderful teachers, the engaging way that art is taught and not forgetting the spacious and chid-friendly environment. (You can read about it here.) You must be thinking: Who is the inspiration behind heART Studio?

I'm very happy to introduce Rena Chew, founder of heART Studio. This mother of three was a Regional Marketing Manager before starting heART Studio. She became a stay-at-home mum after giving birth to her first child, and has since taken up music movement, speech and drama and classes on inculcating positivity in babies and tots, in the hope of teaching them to her kids in future. A search for a suitable art education for her son led her to set up heART Studio. She shares with us her inspiration.

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What is your view of art education in Singapore?
Art is slowly getting its way into the life of Singaporeans. However , I feel that the Government can do more to promote arts education, besides emphasizing on the academics.

You mentioned before about the 'direction of art education'. What do you mean?
Our direction of art refers to our belief in progressive works, where the child is guided at every step to aid in his or her development in the visual arts, rather than open ended ones.

As a team, what is heART Studio's teaching philosophy when it comes to teaching art?
We believe in building a child's foundation in art. It is just like building skyscrapers, the foundation is important before any creativity can be infused.

The teachers at heART Studio have a good reputation and are very good with children. How did you choose them to work with you? What is their secret?
The most important factor is that the teachers must have the same vision and passion as me. They love and really care for the kids. It is not just a job.

Are teachers important in delivering the art education direction? How do they do it?
Yes, it is extremely important. First of all they must believe and agree in heART Studio's teaching philosophy, and love kids. Only then can they deliver the type of progressive art education that we believe in.

Why are specific teachers chosen to teach specific age groups?
Not all teachers are suitable to teach all age groups. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore it is important to recognise and take advantage of their strengths, so that they are in the best possible position to provide the best art education they can. It is also important to communicate with the teachers often to know what is best for them.

Why did you set up heArt Studio? What inspired you?
I set up the studio with the intention to help my boy when he was in Primary One. He loves art and had been in another art school for two years but he still could not express himself or his heart’s desires in his drawings. Being a hyper kid, he also struggled with the pressures at school and lost his confident and self esteem. As a mum, it was very sad to see her precious child being the victim of the rat race. Therefore I was very determined to do something for my boy. God gave me vision and gave me an opportunity when I found out that the teachers from his previous art school had left. I quickly searched for them and shared with them my plans for heART Studio.

Why did you choose to focus on art for children between the ages of 3 to 7?
This age group is the most important age as it is best for foundation building. Art not only helps them to de-stress but can also help them in future in the areas of math and language learning. At heART studio, we also help prepare kids who are going into Primary One preparation by teaching science and general knowledge.

What happens after they 'graduate' from heART Studio? Any plans to introduce art for older children or even adults?
After they graduate from heART, if the kids are interested in going to schools like the School of the Arts, we can help prepare them.

Some parents prefer to send their children for swimming or music lessons, and see art as the least important. What would you say to these parents?
Parents know their kids best, so these children may be more kinesthetic or musically inclined, rather than visually.

Any tips for parents to extend the art teaching at home, in between classes at heART Studio?
We debrief parents after every class so that they can try out the same method at home and enjoy drawing and painting with their children.

Thank you Rena, for taking time to do this interview.

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Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

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