Thursday, August 13, 2009

What else we will miss about Chicago

Today the boys had their last art classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music. This has been an excellent venue for us over the past three years with the kids attending various art classes, Wiggleworms French classes and piano (although this last one wasn't as successful!)

The wonderful Laura Reyes has seen both boys for art. I love the way Laura begins each class with a physical exercise to get the kids in tune with their bodies, this is followed by a story, then a multi-media artwork representing a theme from the story. Artworks are assembled using a variety of media with quick changes between each media type to ensure the children do not become bored. Artworks might consist of modeling dough, beaded pipe-cleaners, sparkle paint, crayon, markers, paints using a variety of brushes, found objects, etc. All children are given the same materials and I love the way artworks are expressed in many different ways depending upon the child's predilection. No child is ever told what to do or guided towards completing their artwork in a defined manner. The class ends with a clean-up. Children immerse their hands in a tub of soapy water, filled with toys and objects relating the the theme used in class. This is a fantastic ploy as the children get cleaned without even knowing it! Classes were super motivating for Master 5 (who wants to be an artist when he grows up) but just a really fun opportunity to eat play-dough, drink paint and be reckless with a paintbrush for Master 3.

Something else I will miss from Chicago is Argo Tea. For someone schooled in the world of independent coffee shops and who really does not like Starbucks coffee (and only goes there in an emergency), Argo Tea has been a very welcome alternative. Originating in Chicago, there were only three Argo Tea stores when we arrived in 2006. This has recently grown to 15. Argo serves a good cup of coffee as well as their substantial range of tea drinks (using white, green, black, red and herbal tea varieties). I particularly like their Mojitea iced tea on a hot day. I dislike drinking coffee from paper cups unless it is to-go. I give full marks to any business that serves coffee in a ceramic cup - this seems to be a rarity in the States. Whenever we attended classes at Old Town School of Folk Music, we would patronize Argo Tea's flagship store at Armitage and Sheffield for a coffee and snack.

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