Monday, October 04, 2010

Teaching Creative Writing to Children.

Today Erik asked if he was still doing his first art class tomorrow.  I said he sure was and he walked away grinning.  The class is at the local Community Arts Centre.  Today, ArtsHub sent an email telling me that same centre is looking for an Artist-in-residence for 2011.  I mentioned the email to Dave and he said, "That could be you!", but I poo-pooed the idea because a) I've never seen the centre do any kind of writing course and b) I'm assuming by "artist" they mean painter, potter or sculpturer (or maybe even an actor or dancer, they do have drama and dance classes at the centre).

Why Children need to learn about
Creative Writing!
Why is writing not art?  Why is it not offered as an interest or skills development group at the Community Arts Centre?

Anyway, so this got me to thinking.  I need to organise some voluntary or employment activity for myself to maintain my mobility allowance and I would like that to be in the area of writing.  I've been contemplating offering a creative writing workshop or short course at the local neighbourhood house, but having been reminded of the local arts centre twice today, I'm thinking of approaching them, as well.

Then I thought, why not put together a short course for children!  It needn't focus on or prioritise grammar and punctuation, but rather introduce concepts of finding stories ideas, developing a plot and characters, how to start a story to engage the reader, creating an obstacle and resolution and so on and so forth.

I did a quick google search and was surprised to find there are VERY FEW courses like this for children!  There are a couple in Sydney and South Australia, but mostly courses are about writing FOR children, not writing BY children.

Can there really be such a gap in the market?  My boys have ready access to pottery, drawing, painting, drama and dance, they can learn to cook and do mosaics, but no one is offering them the opportunity to learn to write stories.

I know this is done at school, but there is never enough time - my boys have both told me this - time to develop characters and plots, for example, and who is teaching them, writers?  Crafts people?  No, teachers.  Teachers who may enjoy writing, but not dedicated creative writing teachers...

This must be fixed!

I first decided to be a writer when my prep teacher encouraged me to write a very simple story, type it up, illustrate it, and bind it.  A copy was put in the school library, and I fell in love with writing.  All children should have this opportunity!

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Good Job!