One of the best decisions I have taken this year has been taking my five years old daughter Nadia to the BaliSpirit Festival, happening every year in the amazing Indonesian island of Bali. The advertising stated that it was a ‘family friendly festival’, but there I found out that BaliSpirit Festival is a real full-time campus for kids!
BaliSpirit Festival management organized a friendly and safe area to host kids aged from two to twelve years old. In the area, at least twenty prepared and patient volunteers were busy entertaining kids with book colouring, face paintings, storytelling and several other activities.
The center were hosting in kids from seven in the morning to eleven in the evening, with a short break between 6pm and 7pm. During the day, by following the schedule on BaliSpirit Festival App in the smartphone, parents could book special activities for their kids, like learning painting, active storytelling or yoga for kids. The teachers were not only volunteer but also accredited international artists. Let me tell you about some of them:
Curly Kids Story-light UK
Curly is a beloved children’s storyteller from the UK, on a mission to ignite joy in the hearts and imaginations of all. He has become well-known for his enigmatic performance tales that engage audiences in the infinite magic of story craft through improvisation, music, puppets and comedy.
My daughter Nadia particularly loved Curly as he was so patient and available to play with her even after his scheduled activity was over. One night they spent at least an hour dancing reggae music in front one of the stage!
For more information about Curly, check www.storylight.org
Stephen Bennet USA ‘The Portrait Painter’
One of the most impressive artists at Kids zone was Stephen Bennett. He is a quite well-known American portrait artist the world over, and no wonder: he had so much patience and passion to share with all little kids attending is painting course. The objective of his workshop is to celebrate a local hero through the creation of a large portrait painting.
Stephen conducted the workshop in the Kids Zone along with children and adults to create a portrait of Ibu Robin Lim, CNN Woman of the Year and founder of Bumi Sehat Birthing Center. The large canvas was divided up into several sections and then reassembled. Stephen workshop teaches about painting, colors, light and having fun while creating art.
I later learned that Stephen has traveled to over 50 countries over the last 30 years. He seeks out indigenous people to capture their soulful faces and ritual adornments through colorful paintings on a grand scale. Bennett’s mission is to preserve and celebrate the world’s diversity through a unique style of realism using interpretive color. The focus of his paintings is on the eyes that invite us to enter and experience our common humanity. To know more about Stephen, check on www.stephenbennett.us
Lela from USA
Lela offered Mindful Awareness classes for kids. Lela studied Child Psychology and began her work with children as an Early Years educator for five years at UCLA, and this was her 4th year at BaliSpirit Festival. When I think of a class on mindfulness, huge mental work on understanding the meaning of this technique comes to mind. I therefore thought that to teach this discipline to kids was a kind of an impossible mission. I had to think again after seeing how Lela impressively managed to convince several kids in one time using games and stories. She was amazing at developing children attention, playfully achieve a balance, and explain compassion through awareness-based activities. Well done.
Jasper Sircus Contact Improvisation Dance for Kids Bali
Jasper Sircus is a yogi, a breath work facilitator, a musician, a dancer, an entrepreneur, a teacher, and a father engaged with many practices and traditions from different cultures that focus on presence, passion, and practicality. I had the feeling that Jasper knows exactly what the kids really like, and as the result his class, attended by so many happy boys and girls, was a great success. Jasper managed to keep all these little kids interested, and to get them to express their self with dance and funny movements.
These are just a few of the artists involved in the kids zone area; there were many more I could not watch or write about, but overall I can say the quality of teachers was high. BaliSpirit Festival Kids Zone was not only a playground where our kids could learn and practice wonderful new activities, but also a center where parents could have interaction with world-wide educators and parents.
The result of this experience was for me absolutely positive and the greatest feed back was from my own daughter: “Can we come back to BaliSpirit Festival next year, daddy?”