“I made squiggly lines and a snake,” explained West New York preschooler Isaac Vazquez, 4, last week. “It’s going to get the mouse right there in the ground.”
Vazquez and his classmates have been hard at work preparing for the third annual preschool art exhibit in celebration of the Week of the Young Child, which runs nationally from April 18 through 24.
From their use of bright colors to the abstract strokes, these preschoolers have been studying the great masters and creating their own original works.
The best examples are on display at the West New York Public Library, 425 60th St., throughout the month of April.
“It’s just a great way to show what these kids can do,” said Adrienne Sires, assistant superintendent of instruction and wife of Mayor Albio Sires.
The theme, as always, is spring. The kids went wild for spring colors, from rich bright blues and reds to the season’s signature color of budding greens.
However, while the theme has remained the same each year, the district has taken a different approach to this year’s show.
Last year, only one child from each preschool class was asked to submit a piece for the exhibit. But this year the kids all contributed to one collaborative piece per class, which gave every child a chance to participate.
“We made a suggestion to have murals this year instead of individual children’s work,” said Claire Warnock, principal of the Early Childhood program.
“The children were not only able to be creative, but they experienced things as a group,” said Sires.
The Week of the Young Child celebrates children all over the country from the age of birth to 8 years old.
Monets and Pollocks
Of course, these are no ordinary pictures of spring; they were inspirations of old world and contemporary artists such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and the childlike wonder of Jackson Pollock.
“We recognized five paintings for their excellence and creativity; one overall for best in show,” said Sires. “Each child will be receiving certificates of participation.”
Among the recognized classes was Lulu Choon-Gonzalez’s pre-k from Lollipop Day Care, with their rendition of one of Monet’s masterpieces, which they titled “Colorful Spring.”
“It was suggested that maybe we could introduce some [impressionist or contemporary] artists, and if the kids wanted to, they could copy or paint something else,” said Choon-Gonzalez.
“I painted a giant rainbow, and over it is blue, yellow, and red,” said Matthew Salehi, 4. “Blue and green are my favorites.”
Classical music, too
Choon-Gonzalez also had her kids listen to ‘Classical Moods’ while they worked, as well as the Four Seasons.
“They get really into it and go with the rhythm,” said Choon-Gonzalez.
The class that won Best in Show Mrs. Detra Harper’s pre-k from the Early Childhood Center.
“The kids are very excited and very happy; we’re going to celebrate in the classroom,” said Harper.
Her class’s original work was entitled “Puddles,” which was inspired by the abstract technique of Jackson Pollock.
“My assistant Diana and I thought that Pollock [known for his splash designs] was so similar to the expressive style of children,” said Harper. “It’s something they can [easily] replicate.”
Harper’s little ones splattered to the musical stylings of Mozart and Johan Sebastian Bach, and mostly used red and white colors.
“Because [Pollock] liked red and white,” said Eric Ramirez, 5. “I liked the splatting.”
“I used red and white; I did triangles, some rectangles and some circles, and I made some hearts in red too,” said Dylan Golan, 5.
1,035 kids in programs
There are approximately 1,035 3- to 4-year-olds in West New York’s early childhood program, and approximately 315 of them are accommodated within the district at the Early Childhood Center. However, a majority of the program’s 3-year-olds receive out of district care at the local day care facilities, which the Board of Education supplements.
There are about 16 facilities that cater to West New York’s tots, including the Lollipop Day Care on Palisade Avenue.
“We’ve worked with them so long that we feel that they are all ours,” said Warnock.
Parents learn about programs
Also coming up in May will be the town’s Childversity Fair, where parents and the community will be introduced to what the program has been doing and how it has improved.
The art exhibit will also be on display at that time at the Early Childhood Education Center on Hudson Avenue.