• Girassol child care open for business and art
By Naomi Klouda
Preschool teacher Rosana Moyer has opened a serious art instruction environment for toddlers on up in a daycare setting. While Mom gets to her doctor’s appointment, she drops off her daughter for a one-hour art lesson.
Even babies get a day at the art studio recently opened by Moyer, a Kachemak Kids Head Start pre-school teacher specializing in art. Her school is open off Heath Street behind the Horizon Satellite company.
Called Girassol Child Care, the tailor-made day care service doesn’t function like a traditional one. Moyer has built a schedule in child-sized blocks: 30 minutes for art instruction that includes learning about a master painter.
“I show them a piece of art by a master and we talk about the painter and his life. Then the kids do a piece of art, not a copy, but they will add elements or take out elements from it,” Moyer said.
The portraits of Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Kandinsky hang on a wall in the art area. Immediately beneath are samples of their work.
Colors are bright and supplies are neatly, even artistically, arranged in Moyer’s studio. She converted three large rooms that formerly served as a home into her studio day care. The building faces a view of Kachemak Bay and its mountains. Little fuzzy faced slippers are lined up inside the door for children to donne upon entering.
After completing art instruction for half an hour, the four-year-olds and up move on to a tactile play area set up with colored blocks of jello in one tote, pudding paint in another, sand and rice and beans in others.
“Sensory play – tactile – is very important to have fun in. It is stimulating their brains,” she said.
After 20 minutes of sensory play, they move on to the play room. Parents are encouraged to drop off their children for one, two or three hours, with a limit at three hours, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Saturdays, children are working on longer projects. On Tuesdays, it’s babies only and a limit of two or three babies. Moyer is taking those under 18 months, since traditional day cares only take the babies if they are older than 18 months. This means parents will now have an option not available in other day cares in town.
“This is something for the baby’s parents, so they have time to go shopping or do an appointment,” she said.
Moyer taught preschool in Bahia – pronounced bi-a-ya – Brazil. She specialized in art education until moving to Homer in 2009 to marry. Her husband, a retired Department of Transportation employee in Anchorage, traveled for two sessions to volunteer in a school where she taught. The two corresponded for a while – he in English and she in Portuguese with the computer doing their translations. In Homer, they were married in June 2009.
“I didn’t have a work visa so I volunteered at Kachemak Kids Head Start for a year, then I was hired the next year,” she said.
Creating art expands a child’s ability to interact with the world around them, and provides a new set of skills for self-expression and communication. Not only does art help to develop the right side of the brain, it also cultivates important skills that benefit a child’s development, Moyer said. Art matters the same way language matters. It is a fundamental component of what makes us uniquely human.
Moyer isn’t the only one teaching when she conducts her art instruction. She broadens her English language skills with help from the children. “I will say, ‘what is the word for this (gesture)’ and they’ll tell me. It’s good for their language skills, too,” she said.
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