Kids can still create at home with the Yukon Arts Centre’s virtual programming.

Kids Kreate goes virtual

Kids Kreate has been a long-standing feature of the Yukon Arts Centre’s programming. One Sunday afternoon of each month their lobby is filled with children creating art under the tutelage of a professional artist. But with the advent of COVID-19 and social distancing the program needed a new model to bring art into the lives of Yukon’s youngsters. The solution was to take the program virtual.

Maya Rosenberg, one of the instructors for Kids Kreate, explained, “The Yukon Arts Centre was amazing – they said this program is really important, so how can we make it work in this new reality.”

The new model for Kids Kreate takes place online via Zoom. Aimed at ages four to twelve, programming is scheduled for Wednesdays and Fridays each week at 1 pm for an hour. You can register your children to take part through an online form that the Yukon Arts Centre is making available for each week’s programs via their Facebook page. 

“It’s been a fantastic model to teach through and so much fun,” said Rosenberg, “you’re actually able to engage with the kids really well – even though there’s a huge number of them – and it’s really exciting to see them all hold their art up to their cameras and show each other what they’ve been creating.”

That interaction between the kids that the virtual program is facilitating is one of the most rewarding pieces for Rosenberg.

“They get to see their friends. They inspire each other and they feed off of each other’s creativity,” she explained, “there’s this amazingly strong social element that I’ve seen developing over the first few sessions. This program is allowing them to connect to each other in a time when they’ve lost a lot of that connection. I see them sharing stories and the art each of them is creating is really reflecting their stories and personalities – it’s really inspiring to see.”

The program is adjusted to creation in a home environment, which means that everyone is working with whatever supplies they have on hand.

“It’s creating a real independence in the kid’s art creation that I haven’t witnessed in the in-person sessions,” said Rosenberg, “because they’re working from home with their own supplies, they’re all coming up with really unique work – the diversity of work they are creating based on a project is so exciting. I also feel like they’re learning that they can do this at home without a teacher telling them what to do, which is really powerful.”

Taking the program into a virtual space has created some exciting benefits.

“There are so many more youth from the communities taking part in the virtual programming than I ever saw in the on-person sessions,” explained Rosenberg, “the programming has actually become more accessible by forcing us to adapt to the current realities.”

As a teacher, working in a virtual realm has proved an interesting challenge for Rosenberg. 

“You’re dealing with a wide range of ages, a huge number of students – I stopped counting at 60 for my last session, and they’re all at home working with limited supplies. It makes you more of a problem solver,” she explained.

“I think a model like this works so well with children though because they’re so adaptable,” she added, “when you’re working with adults they often feel like they can’t do something unless they’re using the exact same supplies as the instructor. Kids don’t have those same reservations or that same fear button – they just go for it and make it work.”

It’s not just the kids who are benefitting from the Kids Kreate program, parents who are suddenly learning first-hand exactly how much work their daycare and school teachers are putting in are grateful for the help.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” says Rosenberg, “and I’m so excited that as art instructors for this program we can be part of that village. I’m able to give the parents an hour break and let them take that deep breath they are all so desperately needing right now, which feels really meaningful at this moment in time.”

Artist in the School Adapts