Sunflower Art Studios — Afterschool Program
By L.A. McMahon
From Issue 57: Spring 2023
I caught up with Liz Glover Wilson, freshly home from a shaman & yoga retreat in Costa Rica, to ask her about the new afterschool program at Sunflower Art Studios (2694 US 44 55, Gardiner). Sunflower Art Studio is a non-profit organization started in honor of Liz’s sister, and the after-school program is “new” in the sense that it is a re-imagining of the original after-school art program which shut down during Covid. They also have a Summer Program for kids. I asked for a thumbnail sketch of the new afterschool program and Liz obliged, saying. “The afterschool program is suitable for kids 5 to 12 years of age and focuses on a nice blend of movement, mindfulness, and creativity; we also offer a toddler program. There is room for about 30 children, and we are currently averaging about 10, so there is plenty of room for more.”
I asked, “How do you manage the supervision of children with a 7-year age span?” Liz replied, “We adjust the supervision ratios based on the ages and number of children attending.” The thought of children learning “mindfulness” intrigued me, so I asked, “How do you teach children mindfulness?” Liz replied, “It’s a mix of breath awareness and active listening techniques, self-image practice, and singing. Art is especially important for mindfulness because it calms the nervous system and allows space for focus and expression. We also use the Lenape Meeting Space replica we put up every Spring on a dedicated spot of land dedicated to the Lenape heritage, and bring kids into the hut so they can hear about and experience the Lenape indigenous people’s experience and implement the use of talking sticks to teach them respect, help them learn about indigenous people, and how to be peacekeepers. We also use the space for one-day women’s retreats and for teacher trainings.” In a world where there is an extreme lack of mindfulness, peace, and respect, this afterschool program is more than needed and deeply appreciated. For more information: sunflowerartstudios.community or call (845) 419-5219.