What is it that makes children's art club My Little Van Gogh so popular with parents? Becky Riddles finds out.
Creativity: one of life’s fundamental skills. Combined with imagination and a sense of curiosity, all children are natural-born artists. Given the right tools, stimuli and freedom, it is amazing what a child will create. My little Van Gogh provides these tools and stimuli in a safe environment where children are free to let their creativity loose. And boy is it let loose!
Walking into the atelier (art studio) for a ‘Little Theos’ (1 - 3 years) or ‘Little Vincents’ (3-6 years) club session, you can immediately identify four stations that encourage the children to explore different media and materials, as well as stimulate their senses. From a collaborative play area to a project and playdough table and a sensory corner, there is something to capture the imagination of every child and parent.
Based on the Reggio Emilia education philosophy, where every child is encouraged to reach their own potential, the sessions are carefully designed to allow the child to develop their creativity at their own level, at their own pace, in their own way, using the materials and art equipment available to them.
Radha Ovalles, the Venezuelan Psychologist behind My Little Van Gogh, creates a wonderful artistic and nurturing environment in her children’s atelier. She lovingly selects different materials and project ideas suitable for each of the age groups she is designing her sessions for. During the sessions, every child is encouraged to explore whatever they would like to and express themselves by creating their very own unique masterpieces, be it a sculpture of playdough and feathers, a modern painting, or an art installation from cardboard boxes!
We love, love, love the My Little Van Gogh classes! The best thing is your kids being set free to get creative and messy and just do as they choose rather than being overly directed. - Natalie and Tessa (2)
According to the many parents attending the My Little Van Gogh art club, one of the best elements is the freedom they feel to allow their child to explore and be as creative as they like without having to worry about the mess that goes hand in hand! "Pietro enjoys playing with the colour and trying new sensorial experiences," explains mum Aurora. "The best part for me is that he can make a mess and it’s not my house!”
Not only are the session’s great fun for all involved, the no-stress environment and relaxed attitude to being creative benefits the children in other ways too, building their confidence and allowing them to use their skills outside the sessions, bringing creation into their daily lives. It also helps them make sense of and deal with the world around them.
"Since Zoe  has been attending classes," says mum Hajnalka, "she has been creating amazing projects also at home. She just gets a lot of inspiration from everywhere and uses these in her creations. Somehow these classes showed her the way to do so. The Little Van Gogh classes have also helped Zoe to deal with her emotions when she cannot fully express them; she just incorporates these in her drawing.
As the children get older, My Little Van Gogh grows with them. In the ‘Creative Lab’ sessions for 6 to 12 year olds, the materials are adapted for their developing imaginations and motor skills, allowing them to get into more detail and focus on building their inspired creations. This age range also has the opportunity to attend special workshops with guest artists where they get to explore, play and learn about different art techniques.
If all this isn’t enough to ensure your child’s natural creativity blossoms, the My Little Van Gogh children’s atelier is also the perfect place to hold an ‘Arty Party’. With each party designed with you and your child’s needs and wishes in mind, no two parties are alike. You can chose your theme and Radha will tailor your little one's special day to make it a day to remember. She will take care of the decorations and entertainment as well as ensuring each child creates their own memory to take away with them - and the parents are delighted. “It was absolutely amazing," enthuses Linda, mother to 5-year-old Temari. "Radha took care of everything, the studio looked wonderful and the kids loved each and every activity. The catering of the party was also taken care of, and not only was it delicious, it was perfect to every detail.”
Berenice had an amazing time and her friends too! Great activities, lots of fun, perfect organisation, and in a bright and colourful place. We loved our Art/ Rainbow birthday party! - Caroline and Berenice (5)
My Little Van Gogh received Honourable Mentions in the categories 'Best Class for Toddlers', 'Best Class for Younger Children', 'Best Class for Older Children', 'Best Party Service Provider' and 'Best Children's Party Location' in the Amsterdam Mamas Recommends Awards 2016.
Disclaimer: My Little Van Gogh has paid to be featured on Amsterdam Mamas because they believe that their services would be of interest and benefit to our readers, and we think so too. For more information on sponsored posts and advertising on Amsterdam Mamas, please see our Advertising and Disclosure policy.
Becky Riddle is a full-time mom (and self-confessed jack of all trades yet master of none!) who has been living, growing, learning, and loving with her English family of 3 girls and husband in the Netherlands since 2006.
Photo credit: My Little Van Gogh