A stroke of genius helps little artists

Getting arty: Artist Fiona Simpson has established art cklasses at St John's Church in Ashbrooke and is pictured with young students Florence Hodgetts (left) and Oliver Ward.
Getting arty: Artist Fiona Simpson has established art cklasses at St John's Church in Ashbrooke and is pictured with young students Florence Hodgetts (left) and Oliver Ward.
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A MUM has returned to her roots to help kids get arty.

Fiona Simpson, 37, is hoping to introduce little ones to the joys of arts and crafts with her ARTventurers classes.

The mum-of-two left Sunderland for Yorkshire in 1992 to go to university and then set up home in Leeds, but recently moved back to live in Seaburn with her family.

While living in Leeds Fiona set her up own business running art and craft classes, parties and events for children – and she’s now launching the classes around Sunderland.

Fiona, who is mum to Erin, five, and Isaac, three said: “I set up the classes when my eldest had just turned two. I wanted somewhere I could take her where we could do arts and crafts together as she just loved sticking, gluing and painting, but I didn’t really want the mess in my own home as I had a new-born baby too.

“There were art classes around for older children, but nothing for younger ones. I took the plunge and set up some classes for toddlers and they proved really popular straight away. I had a waiting list for places before the first class even launched.”

Fiona runs weekly Little ARTventurers classes for children aged 18 months to five years, plus holiday sessions for older children.

Her background is in ceramics and she’s running a Little Potters course over the summer break at the Washington Arts Centre.

“I want to get children involved in art and craft activities from an early age,” she explained.

“Studies show that doing art and crafts improves concentration, co-ordination and self-esteem. Most parents I talk to would love to do more of this type of activity at home with their little ones but they are put off by the thought of the mess and clearing up.

“The beauty of coming to one of the ARTventurers sessions is that they can have fun getting creative together and then I clean up all of the mess!”

The Little ARTventurers classes follow a different theme each week, exploring different art and craft materials and techniques. All activities follow the Early Learning Goals of England.

The weekly term-time sessions for children 18 months and older start next month at St John’s Church in Ashbrooke.

Fiona is also launching a series of summer holiday sessions in Ashbrooke and Roker.

l Full details can be found on the website www.artventurers.co.uk or by calling Fiona on 07775911990.

Twitter: @sunechokaty