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Entries in arts (2)


A Look at a New Integrated Fine Arts Curriculum

Among the very first people who supported me in the creation of Go West Young Mom were my daughter’s wonderful Kindermusik teachers, Larry Dieffenbach and Grace Bardsley. In fact, they were the very first advertisers on Go West Young Mom!

An illustration from one of the "What If We ...?" chapter books.Bardsley and Dieffenbach have impressive musical backgrounds, both hold music-related degrees and also teach private voice and piano lessons.

Now they are focusing their energies on a new path, called “What If We … ? The Quest and Questions of Leonardo and Athena.” It’s an integrated fine arts curriculum aimed at children ages 5 through 8.

Bardsley and Dieffenbach designed and wrote the whole curriculum themselves, and an artist illustrated the materials. It features a boy named Leonardo and his very wise friend Athena (she’s an owl, by the way) as they journey through various time periods, including the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Beethoven’s lifetime.

The curriculum revolves around music, with lessons in rhythm, solfege (sight-singing) and keyboard playing. But it also includes art projects, games, math and science projects, history lessons, journaling exercises and physical activity.

Children and their parents participate in the 75-minute-long lessons together and follow along with Bardsley and Dieffenbach as the class follows along with four chapter books.

Click to read more ...


Weekend Spotlight: Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival on Sunday

The Weekend Spotlight falls on the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival, which is scheduled for Sunday at Kaneland High School in Maple Park.

You’ve already heard a bit about the festival, when we profiled its executive director, Maria Dripps-Paulson, as a “Go West Mom You Should Know” earlier this month.

But here’s why if you have some free time on Sunday, you should make attending the 12th annual edition of the festival part of your own weekend planner:

* It’s a free, family-friendly celebration of the arts, featuring performances and demonstrations by talented musicians and artists.

* You can catch performances by School House Rock, State Street Dance Studio, Fox Valley Children’s Chorus and the Ceremonial Band of the Great Lakes Naval Base.

* There are hands-on workshops in areas like glass fusing, painting and caricatures and demonstrations in subjects like quilting, pottery, oil painting, calligraphy and more.

* There’s a special area just for children in kindergarten and younger, as well as face painting and balloon animals.

* This one is really cool: The AMEBA Acrobatic and Aerial Dance Troupe will perform at 3 p.m. They use suspended equipment such as scarves and swings during their show, which will be in the high school’s auxiliary gym. After, at about 3:30 p.m., the performers will lead a workshop open to anyone 8 years and older. (Parents and guardians must be present during the workshop.)

* Did I mention this is all free? Plus there will be food and refreshments available for purchase.

The Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and you can find a full schedule of events by clicking here.

And of course check the Go West Calendar for a whole array of family fun this weekend.