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Wildflowers and Insects, All in Pictures of Nature

Posted October. 04, 2002 23:12,   


Under a scenic mountainside, a field laced with grass, lilies of the valley and self-sown plants. The Nature Art School located in Osan-ri, Jori-myeon in Paju, Gyeonggi-do is a place where young children learn how to become a part of nature and understand art.

Park Bong-taek, a 50-year-old painter, founded the school on a 12,000-pyong site under the mountain in January 1999 aiming to draw young children out of their routine urban life of going to school and private institutes.

The school has a drawing room, a pottery room, a display room, an outdoor classroom and a promenade, which serve as a place of first-hand learning for little children and their parents. Four artists, two craftsmen and two painters, are teaching children in the natural setting.

“There’s big difference between watching trees and flowers in books and touching and smelling them in real when it comes to developing creativity,” said Park. “It is all the better for education that children draw what they experience.”

Teachers let children watch and feel themselves plants and animals of the season before draw their feelings. Little students sometimes use taro leafs as an umbrella, make a grass harp and watch how a white grub transforms itself into a cicada.

Park opened an acorn class this week, teaching students to pick up acorns and draw them in their own ways. Roaming around the hillside looking for acorns, they learn that the nuts are used to make Korean jelly and they are staple for squirrels.

They smell and taste acorns themselves. Then when they put their experience into sketchbooks, Park explains, students tend to emphasize one of five senses, smell, taste, touch or color.

Little children visit the place mostly on weekend, while housewives come to attend class during weekdays. There are two courses, a regular and a special program.

The former is made up of art and pottery classes for adults and for children separately. The latter is designed for a group lesson for tens to hundreds of people that centers on arts workshops and drawing classes.

A one-day course takes a group of some 20 students out to the promenade filled with self-sown plants and then shows them how to draw pictures and make potteries. A weekend course also let students experience nature and teach them how to transform their experience into art.

The one-day course costs 115,000 won, with fees decided by the detail such as the number of participants and schedule. The school offers boarding facilities and a restaurant.

Jang Eun-sook, a 38-year-old mother who sends her 8-year-old son to the school every weekend, says “He has changed, more softened and considerate, since he began to experience nature free from the stifling urban life.” www.naschool.com 031-947-7462