Preparing Kids To Thrive
My name is Theresa Harris and I'm the owner of Thrive Art School. For the last 12 years we've been teaching kids how to draw with confidence in our two Seattle schools.
When I was a little girl, I believed I could be anything. I pretended to be a scientist mixing strange concoctions, I put on magic shows, I ran a small business, and I led my parents on wild treasure hunts with poetic clues. As I got older, that creative dreamer - my innovative spirit - became squelched by self-doubt and fear of failure.
Sadly, this happens to most of us as we grow up. At the age of five, children are using 80% of their creative potential, but by the age of twelve, they are using just 2%*. With your help, I aim to change this tragic statistic by giving kids the tools they need to thrive.
I started Thrive Art School as a way to empower kids through art. My goal was to provide a nurturing environment where children could learn fine art and also develop their confidence and creativity. Now, after honing our teaching method and watching thousands of kids succeed, I am ready to push our program out to the world. I want to expand my brick and mortar art school into an online global classroom for kids.
What Thrive Art Online Will Include
Each program is designed for kids age 6-12 years old and will include:
- Six online video art lessons (30-40 minutes each)
- Parent coaching videos
- Visuals for inspiration and educational segments
- Online parenting community for sharing, questions and support
- Online art portfolio for kids to proudly show their art
- Lessons can be taken on any web-based device that streams video: desktop, laptop, iPad, smartphone or other tablet devices. Art supplies are purchased separately.
Everyone can learn to draw - especially the kids that think they can’t! Our structured approach starts with teaching the fundamentals of drawing in an easy to follow methodical way.
Meet the lines for drawing – if kids can master these three simple lines and learn how to see them in everyday objects and pictures, they can draw anything!
Partnering with Parents
This is a team effort- as a bonus to the student art lesson videos, parents receive coaching videos produced just for them. When a child gets stuck solving a problem, parents will have strategies to help their child find solutions.
Kids gain confidence when they feel proud of themselves. To help them become aware of their accomplishments, I coach parents how to prompt their child to think about and share their art learning using our Art Talk tool. Here is an example of one of the prototype parent coaching videos where I introduce Art Talk.
Our Current Progress
Beginning earlier this year, I've been busy creating three prototype video lessons and parent coaching videos. In October 2012, I launched a private trial to test the waters. Almost 100 families from around the world participated, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Here's some of the great feedback I received from parents during our trial:"I am so happy, I am practically in tears! My son Sam generally refuses to do any art projects due to his fine motor challenges. He is the only one in his class who does not have a self-portrait hanging on the wall. After two Thrive online classes, Sam came home from school with an amazing self-portrait!! I'm beyond thrilled that his confidence was boosted enough by just two lessons!"
- Molly Capron (Seattle, WA)
"My 5 yr old daughter is loving this class. She is getting more confident and the video lesson is better than a live class because she can do it several times at her own pace."
- Laura Luce Kelley (San Francisco, CA)
-------------------------------------------------"I appreciate, being on a different continent, that we can access the lessons when they work for our family and can play, pause, and repeat as often as necessary. Magic! You are a really great teacher! "
- Aleasha Morris (Singapore)
"While doing the lesson, I didn't hear a peep out of my daughter for a full hour. She came out once to show me with a huge smile on her face and said, "This is so stinkin' cool!" Preteens and their buzz words. lol! The timing of the lesson was spot on. It contained clear, simple instructions. My daughter was able to set up the lesson without my assistance - and wanted to do it all by herself."
- Leslie Cheung (Shoreline, WA)
Artwork from our Trial Participants
Our program works because we provide enough structure for kids to be successful and enough freedom for individual creativity - see for yourself!
In addition to pre-ordering your video lessons for an awesome Kickstarter price, we've got some fun goodies to say thank you. If you don't have a child age 6-12 then you have the option to pass on the lesson videos to someone you know (niece, nephew, grandchild, friend's kid) OR get an original drawing from a child in our scholarship program.
And - if you're wondering what the heck a "Kudo Monster" is... check out our super-cool rewards Haiku Deck style:
Where Your Money Goes
I want these videos to be amazingly high quality to get as close to a true classroom experience as possible. I'm producing 12 x 35-minute video lessons (for beginner + intermediate programs). By shooting all the raw-footage myself and contracting out the post-production, I'm trying to be as efficient as possible. It will cost $2500 per video lesson to cover editing, animated line-drawing segments, drawing overlay animations, time-lapse sections, color correction, and acquiring digital rights for the educational segments of each video.
Creative & Confident Kids - Everywhere!
Everyday, I realize the benefits of living in a metropolitan area like Seattle- where high quality classes and enrichment programs for kids are abundant. My dream is to bring our time-tested art program to kids who don’t have access to such resources. Whether they are from that small farming town with a population of 80, or live in a hut on the Swiss Alps, a streaming internet connection is all that’s needed.
This Kickstarter project is only the beginning of what I intend to create. I want to connect parents and children to each other with an art-portfolio page for children to share their artwork with other online classmates around the world! I want to develop an entire comprehensive fine arts video series for kids as well as special interest courses. Want to learn to draw cars, buildings, people or animals? We’ll have a lesson for that.
What exactly is a “backer”?
Backers are folks like you who pledge money toward a Kickstarter campaign. The reason you are called a backer rather than a “customer” is that pledging money toward a Kickstarter campaign isn't like shopping at an online store. If we don’t raise at least 100% of our goal ($30,000), we don’t get any money, none of the backers get the rewards, and your credit card is not charged.
Do I lose my money if you miss your goal?
No, see above. No goal reached, no payouts. Don't worry - we have faith in you, the backers!
How can I contact you?
Have a question? Want to know more? So many ways to reach me. Mail me at email@example.com. Tweet me at @ThriveArtClass, Like me at www.facebook.com/ThriveArtClasses.
* Creativity: Theories and Themes: Research, Development, and Practice. Runco, 2007.
Risks and challenges
I've spent the last year working on this, and developing the lessons to the point of the prototypes. Most of the uncertainty has been eliminated based on the successful results of our trial. I know the format that works! Now it's a matter of turning the crank to make all the content.
However, there are a few things that are still keeping me up at night...
Currently we're targeting all twelve lessons for children age 6 -12. Developmentally, this is a wide age range. In our prototypes the content scaled well, yet there is some risk that as we bring on more students, we may have to subdivide the content into narrower age ranges. We're confident the current plan works but if this needs to be tweaked, it could slow our production.
In addition, while we know the post-production requirements to animate our Beginner Program, the editing may be more complex when we move into more advanced drawing skills for the Intermediate Program. We'll work closely with our team to stay on budget and maintain quality.
Oh - and there is the risk that I get repetitive strain injury from drawing thousands of 'Kudo Monster' thank you cards for our backers. Finding a stunt double for the videos could be a challenge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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