What is “Zshuk”?
Zshuk is a bug or a beetle in Russian and Yiddish Languages. To us this word is a symbol of mobility and interconnectedness. As artists and teachers our understanding is that identity is closely related to artistic expression. Personal expression is crucial to the artistic practice. By locating themselves in a larger global culture, artists can use their own personal stories to bring light to larger issues. This is what makes art universal and accessible to all. When we watch children painting, mixing colors, making marks, and talking about what they have made, we are witnessing a unique and personal affirmation of identity. There is great power in self-expression. It resonates with emotional associations evoking nurture, human potential, interconnectedness, beauty, and lasting value.
“Learn by Discovery”
Progressive philosophy of education is rooted in a perspective that children learn best in those experiences in which they have a vital interest and that modes of behavior are most easily learned by actual performance. Progressive education fosters activities directed by the child and recognition of individual differences considered crucial.
Progressive Education philosophy was developed by various intellectuals and educators around the world. A main objective was to educate the “whole child” that is, to attend to physical and emotional as well as intellectual growth. Creative and manual arts gained importance in the curriculum, and children were encouraged toward experimentation and independent thinking.
Most progressive schools philosophies such as Regio Emilia, Waldorf and Montessori integrate art across the curriculum and here is why:
- Arts teach important habits of mind that we use through out our lives. Developing important habits of mind early on helps children become successful adults.
- Art experience and practice promotes creativity. Creative people make changes.
- Arts are a natural way to explore identity. Artists practice creativity professionally and have developed many ways and techniques for expression.
- A famous notion, that in order to make art you need to have talent, is a myth.
Zshuk Children’s Art Initiative is based on artist’s and educator’s understanding that arts and culture are the best way for bilingual communities and particularly for Russian speaking community to explore it’s unique identity and open ways to connect to the global community.