Keiki go green with art project

Published: Jul. 15, 2009 at 10:09 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 16, 2009 at 3:05 PM HST
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Susan Lee
Susan Lee
Jen Sarsuelo
Jen Sarsuelo
Trudi Mahelona
Trudi Mahelona

By Tracy Gladden - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Hawaii keiki learn how to go green before even entering pre-school. Gigi and her mom paint a pink kite they put together out of recycled materials. "The recycled material part is just an extra bonus for us because your not spending any more money on getting the art supplies everything you can find at home," class participant Susan Lee said.

They're in an art and science class at The Growing Nest which is a store for kids at Ward Warehouse. Owner Jen Sarsuelo says teaching environmental awareness to toddlers is easy with the right tools.

"Figure out how we can engage them with different types of medium. Paint, glue, paper, clay, so they'll get to touch and do a variety of things in one class period and actually get to take something home," Sarsuelo said.

Trudi Mahelona and her nephew Troy work together on the kite he plans on bringing home to his dad. "When they use recycled materials it gives us a chance to talk about the whole world and our community," she said.

The structured one hour class focuses on helping young keiki work on fine motor skills. "Their focus is longer, their critical thinking skills are much more advanced and all the studies show this but we see it hands on everyday," Sarsuelo said.

"She'll actually read the directions," Lee said.

"I think it helps him to follow directions. Especially with little boys they tend to be a little bit all over the place and energetic," Mahelona said.

She says the class is a great confidence booster for her nephew. "What I've noticed is that he's being social but he's also being a lot more attentive and focused," Mahelona said.

The project helps toddlers develop creatively as well as become more eco-conscious. "For them, they're going to grow up as it's second nature, to be earth conscious," Sarsuelo said.

"He really looks forward to seeing all his friends and knowing that they are making something together," Mahelona said.

With the colorful kites, the keiki learn that it's never too early to go green. The classes at The Growing Nest are offered in four week sessions.