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Dear Friends,

Rural children in South Africa get very few opportunities to experience quality visual art classes. Or any art in fact.

However, the community of Kylemore is fortunate enough to have the Imbali Visual Literacy Project that provides art education to over 200 rural children in Kylemore. Once a month Alexis Hanslo and her team from the Children’s Art Centre in Cape Town keep these young artists busy with paint, paper, scissors and glue, and together they create inspiring and quality work. In recognition of this enterprising project that helps pave the way to awaken the creativity, potential and purpose in South African youth, Imbali Western Cape has now received a grant of R450 000 from the National Lotteries Commission.
A portion of the grant has been dedicated to the early childhood development (ECD) role Imbali plays in providing art education to pre-school and primary school learners. The children who attend these classes come from neighbouring rural townships where art classes are virtually non-existent, especially for pre-school children,” says Jeanne Bestbier-Bloch, Vice Chairperson of Imbali.

Hanslo says there are two groups of children from the Frank’s Heaven Crèche that attend classes on Friday mornings: 22 children in the 3-4 year group and 22 children in the 4-5 year group.

The emphasis is on strengthening their fingers and fine motor control by tearing, folding and crumpling paper, holding their crayons and paintbrushes in order to make the marks that they want. The course also enables the young ones to extend their vocabulary, colours, shapes, etc. and the learning of the names of shapes in nature and our environment that they continue to use in their picture-making.

I have also been collaborating with teachers to include some of the themes that they are working on at their crèche into the art programme. These past few weeks have been quite hard work with these lovely, free spirits, but what joyous creativity abound.
” Hanslo says.

Social aspects of the programme include improving listening skills, following instructions, making meaningful contributions in class discussions, sharing and management of materials, and respect and self-respect.
The intermediate phase includes pupils who attend the PC Petersen Primary School. There are 30 regular attendees each week. This is a varied group of children between the ages of 8 and 11 years that arrive at the class at 13h00. Lunch/snack is served before the class starts at 13h30. 

With this group, Hanslo plans to focus on picture-making for at least six months where they learn about the art elements such as line, texture, tone, shape, colour and pattern and how we can incorporate them into our art. They are working towards their NLC Child Art Exhibition. This project is their contribution towards the e’Bosch Heritage Festival in September.

Art through the eyes of the soul of a child – what a wonderful world!
Bless you for caring
Jeanne and all at Imbali

Jeanne Bestbier-Bloch, Imbali Coordinator
Mobile: +27 83 601 2376
Website: http://www.imbaliwc.co.za
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