Claudine Fernandez, founder and Principal Instructor, Artistic Strategies Academy, is a Harvard graduate with an M.A. in Education Degree & B.A. (Hons) Degree in English Literature from the National University of Singapore. She has been teaching English and Literature since 2007. She founded the institute as she observed too many children feeling disenchanted with writing. This was mostly due to the fact that they associated writing with boring memorization and rote learning techniques and felt disconnected from the stories they were made to write. She found it to be a shame, given that writing is such an important life skill! We had a delightful conversation with her, read along:
Tell us about what inspired you to start Artistic Strategies Academy.
I was inspired by the lessons I learned about Arts in Education in Harvard University, where I completed my Master in Education degree. I realized how much Singaporean children could benefit from an arts education to become more critical thinkers and innovative creators, especially in the area of writing. We all have to write at some point of our lives and good writers always have the advantage in any given situation.
What are the various activities you engage the kids in for the weekly classes? And what skills will the child acquire at Artistic Strategies Academy?
Our students get to experiment with diverse art forms, such as visual arts, clay, movement and drama. They are constantly creating and generating original and innovative ideas. We believe in providing a more holistic education for children, and not one which is mostly centered on scoring well in examinations. As such, our students acquire social-emotional skills, evaluative and analytical skills, creative and critical thinking and of course, language skills through our uniquely designed Artistic Writing programme.
Tell us about the workshops you host for parents and teachers. How do these workshops help?
When parents and teachers learn about our philosophy and pedagogy, they become convinced that our interactive and hands-on approaches are beneficial to tap into children’s learning potential. Furthermore, with the affirmative, encouraging and nurturing environment we create, both adults and children develop the confidence to learn more about effective writing and enjoy the process while they are at it.
The Artistic Writing programme is based on the educational theory of constructivism. Could you elaborate for us?
No individual is a blank slate. We are all constantly and actively constructing knowledge and making meaning of the world around us through a variety of external stimuli. At Artistic Strategies Academy, we go through great lengths to provide conducive, creative and engaging environment for children to expand their thinking and imagination. The depth and extent of the children & learning are evident in their works of art and writing.
There are a range of interesting topics available during your school holiday programmes. Tell us about your upcoming holiday Programmes for this year?
We have two different holiday programmes this end year- Out of this World and The World is your Oyster. In both these programmes, we will be using Harvard’s Project Zero Thinking Routines and Stanford University’s Design Thinking Strategies to enable students to write a variety of interesting narratives as they journey through real and imaginary worlds.
What are your thoughts about the Minor Inc. platform?
Minor Inc is an excellent and trustworthy platform which provides a buffet of choices to develop the child in a myriad of ways. The platform helps parents greatly because it is so easy and convenient to use while being cost and time saving. At the same time, Minor Inc. makes the effort to get to know their partners well in order to provide parents with extensive information about the best programmes for their children to participate in.
Most kids love experimenting with different art forms. This allows them to engage in hands-on, interactive and creative activities. At Artistic Strategies Academy, a child’s creative progress is measured based on their joy of learning, enhanced critical thinking skills, and confident self expression while they write meaningful narratives. Do try a session with them for your budding Shakespeare!