By Wendy Brown, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsJune 30, 2019
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (June 28, 2019) -- Kalib Kennedy, 5, began working on the assigned project in his CreArtivity class here June 27, but then inspiration struck and he moved in a different direction.
Instead of a painted flower, he made a train out of black construction paper that featured colorful wheels that were larger in the back and smaller in the front. He soon proclaimed it his favorite project.
Kalib was one of five children ages 4 to 6 in the class, which meets for an hour each Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the SKIES Unlimited building at the Sagamihara Family Housing Area. It is one of three art classes the program offers, and Masumi Fujiwara, instructor of the classes, said Kennedy's creativity is the kind she encourages.
"If they feel something by themselves, I don't want to say them, 'Do this, do this, do this' [or], 'You have to do that,'" Fujiwara said. "You know, I just want them to draw freely and then have a very special time and a very peaceful time. I just want to let them enjoy. That's important, I think."
Kalib said although he had fun making the train out of construction paper, he likes other aspects of the class as well.
"My favorite part of arts class is: It's really fun to paint," Kalib said.
His mother, Leico Kennedy, said this was only Kalib's second class, but he was enjoying it so far.
"I think it's a very good class and a very important class, teaching kids how to use their imagination and creativity and on paper, versus just running around," Kennedy said. "I appreciate the guidance."
Likewise, Rachel Costello, mother of Evan and Jude Costello, 5, said her twin sons really love art and have enjoyed the class.
"They come home from school and they want to do art projects with me, so I knew that they would love this class, and as soon as I saw it six months ago, I enrolled them," Costello said. "This is their third time taking the class. They love the teacher. They love the projects that they make."
Margarita Giron, mother of Nahum Giron, 6, said her son particularly enjoys making crafts, and in the three months he has been taking the class, he has come home with some impressive projects.
"His first project, he came home with a clock he made--an actual functioning clock--and we actually hung it up," Giron said.
Fujiwara said that in addition to general art concepts, she also incorporates aspects of Japanese culture into the class, such as origami and calligraphy.
Teresa Brodsky, director of Camp Zama SKIES Unlimited, said the class teaches not only art and fine-motor skills, but social skills.
Children get to meet other children their age in the class and can make friends and learn how to share, Brodsky said.
In addition to the CreArtivity class for younger children, there is also a similar, hour-long class for children ages 7 to 12, Brodsky said. Fujiwara also teaches Fine Arts with Ms. Masumi, which is for youths 9 to 18 years old.
Parents interested in the SKIES Unlimited program, which offers a variety of music, arts, martial arts and swimming classes for ages 6 months to 18, can call DSN (315) 262-6137 or 011-81-46-407-6137 from overseas for more information. Parents must first register their children with Child and Youth Services to enroll them in SKIES Unlimited classes.