fb-logo-small25 blog-button25

Congratulations Susan!
Susan Striker was named
Elementary  Art Educator
of the Year
by the Connecticut Art Education Association


Susan Striker

Hear Susan’s ideas on her Young at Art/ACB page on Facebook

See Susan teaching on
YouTube and TeacherTube:
Magic Window Lettering
Book Binding


See Susan Striker Teaching on YouTube
Susan Striker Magic Window Lettering &
Susan Striker Book Binding

For Teachers

Suggestions for Classroom Use

Most Anti-Coloring Book® pages start out as projects Sue teaches her students. She never teaches a lesson without motivating her students by reading them a good story. She shares her comprehensive list of books about every imaginable art project in her latest book, Young at Art. If you would like to try her technique with children over the age of 6 with an Anti-Coloring page, here are some suggestions:
(Remember, many of Sue’s drawings can be used as writing prompts as well).

Ten Cardinal Rules for Teaching
Children Creative Art

  1. Obliterate your own expectations of how an art project should be completed, and let the child’s imagination decide how the art materials will be used.
  2. Never draw, paint or write on a child’s art work.
  3. Never point out accidental similarities to realistic objects.
  4. Never show a child “how” to draw or entertain a child by making realistic pictures.
  5. Don’t ask “What is it?” or “What are you making?” “What” it is is not as important as “How” it is being made.
  6. Never give a child coloring books, dot to dot, magic paint with water, molds, drawing machines, drawing computers or similar anti-art toys.
  7. Never encourage children to participate in art contests or other forms of competition that pits child against child.
  8. Encourage a child to come up with many different solutions to problems, rather than only one correct answer.
  9. Don’t scold for drawing on unacceptable surfaces. Offer paper and say “Oh good, I see you feel like drawing.”
  10. Do not rush a child to the next level of development.

Susan Striker offers teacher workshops and provides curricula for schools. Please click here to see a complete listing of curricula available.

The Young at Art Studios licensing programs and selling curricula around the country!

Now is a great time to consider becoming a Young at Art® owner! Because of the awareness and credibility that the Youngat Art® program has established, our program grows nationally and internationally. You now have the opportunity to grow with us. Or you may prefer to purchase the curriculm to use in your own classroom. Click here for more information.

How is art relevant to the future for our children who are NOT planning a career in the arts?

We must educate our children so that they can be successful in a future working at jobs that we don't now have and can't even imagine. Daniel Pink, New York Times correspondent and author of A Whole New Mind, writes about the need for our students to be creative and able to do big-picture thinking.  Jennifer James, author of Thinking in the Future Tense, lists thinking skills including critical thinking  to prepare students to face new challenges. Pulitzer prize winning Thomas Friedman writes about the importance of skill sets such as adapting, to assist young people as they prepare to work in a global workplace in jobs that are not likely to be outsourced. The focus in education must now be on 2026; not 1996. Susan Striker is an expert on creativity in young children. She is an award winning teacher and the author of 21 best selling books on the subject. Learn from her how art activities can promote creativity and critical and flexible thinking skills.



For Parents

What Other Expert’s Say

"From the time she first discovers that a crayon can mark a sheet of paper, this kind of play will be important to your child. Through drawing and painting she will not only learn to manage the preliminaries to writing, she will also learn ... to express some of her views about the world and her own problems... as well as the pleasure which can come only through her own efforts ... She is exploring the material and its potential, so if you try to make her `draw Mommy' or `cut out a star' you will be interfering with her play. In the same way, coloring books, painting by number, and many craft kits can set such rigid limits around the child's activity that they may frustrate and bore her. Stick to open-ended activities until or unless she actually asks for something more structured."
--Penelope Leach, Your Growing Child, (Knopf 1994)

"The relationship between high self-esteem and unfettered creativity is extremely strong. By its very nature, creativity is a deviant act. It says, `I see things my way and I am willing to let you into my private, perceptual world.'... Studies show that the freely creative youngster is high in self-confidence, emotional maturity, calmness, and independence. He has the capacity for sustained concentration and involved absorption in his projects. Education must concern itself with children's emotions and self attitude or it does not deal with the whole child. It is only as a child's total uniqueness is respected that he can permit his individuality to unfold."
--Dorothy Corkille Briggs, Your Child's Self Esteem, (Doubleday, 1970)

"The best creative environment encourages children to be playful or silly, to be alone or bored sometimes, to explore or even fail sometimes ... Children may not choose to `go on with art' as they grow older, but it will always be a part of their life. The most valuable things they get from art---the flexibility, the decision making abilities, the confidence in their intuition, the feeling of celebration they bring to any creative endeavor."
--Sally Warner, Encouraging The Artist in Your Child, (St. Martins Press, 1989)

"Some may think that the arts are frills. But they are important for complete brain functioning... Perhaps nowhere else in the entire curriculum do children get to see clearly that an achievement takes time and that it has a beginning , a middle, and a product. A vase starts with a lump of clay that is rolled, molded, and fired. A poem starts with a single word on a blank page. A dance starts with a first step. A violin starts with a squeak. There is a level of personal satisfaction in the arts that stimulates a child to learn and to want to keep on learning."
--Dorothy Rich, MegaSkills, (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)

Susan Striker Says

About toys: If it's clever, don't buy it! Your child needs simple toys to  play with cleverly.

About schools: Don't bother to read the brochure;  it was written by a professional and makes the school sound perfect. Instead,  look at the bulletin boards. If all of the art work looks like real live children did it, and it is expressive, it is probably a good school.

About  camps: If they have color war, run for the hills. Wars teach children to  fight. Is that your goal for your child?

About books: Don't stop  reading to your child when he or she learns how to read.  

About quality  time: You can't plan it. Plan for plenty of time; the quality will happen  when you least expect it.

Sleeping alone: Animals don't do it, adults  don't do it. Why does your child always have to?

Time alone: You'll  have more than you want of it later; enjoy your child  now.

How to Encourage Your Child’s Creativity

Be a role model. Instead of saying “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler”, say “I love to create things”. The process of creativity is far more important that the product. If your child sees you taking risks and making things, he or she will follow your model.

Don’t only hang your child’s art on the refrigerator with a magnet. Your child already knows that “real” art is framed and hung throughout the house. Take something your child makes to the framer and hang it in an important area of your home.

Show a clear preference for your child’s original work. Let your child know that copying, tracing and coloring-in of adult art is not creative. Help your child understand that solving problems while creating a work of art leads to solving problems in all areas of life.

Verbalize why you “like” a picture. “Pretty” is not particularly helpful. For example, “the colors are so bright and cheerful, there are straight lines and curvy lines and they look well together, the colors remind me of when you were so sad”, are the kind of phrases that can help your child expand his or her vocabulary. They also reinforce what is already being done on an intuitive level.

Visit an art gallery or museum with your child. There are many to choose from right in your own town. Look at the art work and encourage your child to look at and talk about the art without worrying about being correct.

Make holiday cards out of your child’s drawing or painting and mail them to everyone - even your boss!

Have your children’s birthday party guests decorate their own cake, using squeeze tube frosting and candy.

Set aside an area of your home that can always be “messy”. Put an easel, chalk board, crayons, paints, glue and a box of scraps there. Call it the “art studio”, and encourage daily use.

Buy a big portfolio and save art work. There is nothing more discouraging than working on a picture only to have Mom throw it out on trash day.

Occasionally buy plain, light colored things for your child to decorate, such as t-shirts, curtains, sheets, dishes, canvass bags, etc. use them!

Buy a leather-bound blank book for your child to use every day, even when you travel. Use it regularly and it will soon be a delightful record of your child's growth and development.

Home    | Susan Striker    | Books by Susan    | Come Play    | Young at Art License & Curricula    | Resources    | Press    | Events    | Susan's Artist Friends    |

Site created by AAPK