The Purple Twig

This fall, when seeking out classes for your little ones, try The Purple Twig! Samara Caughey has graciously taken part in a little Who, What, Where, When and Why....

Here are her wonderfully crafted answers:


I believe that art is an essential component of the human experience. Making art helps children develop their capacity for creative thinking, which is important in every area of our lives. It builds problem-solving skills and fosters self-confidence. To see the pride and excitement on the child’s faces as they hold up what they have made is incredible.

Reciprocity in learning is fundamental to what I do. A child may have a spontaneous idea or reaction to a particular material or situation and this might directly effect the direction of the class. For instance I gave one group of girls, age 3, colored paper, scissors and tape to make a three-dimensional collage. They finished so quickly, I could not get them to develop the collage further. But when an extra long piece of tape stuck to their bodies, they became interested. They wanted to put tape on each other, so I suggested we make ourselves into sculptures. They began taping paper onto each other and made the most incredible sculptures. They kept squealing with delight “We are sculptures”. It became a far more interesting project as a result of the reciprocity.


One of the important aspects of my teaching philosophy is that the activities and the thinking that occurs during the projects are at least if not more valuable then the end products. I give suggestions and encourage children to make there own discoveries with the materials. Age appropriate lessons on the use of particular tools and materials are given, whether it be scissors with 3 year olds, glue guns with 6 year olds or plaster with 9 year olds and I believe this facilitates self-confidence and helps develop problem solving skills.

Where + When?

The parents and I create the class together. They gather the children and I come with all the materials. We arrange a time and day together. I work in the client’s home, but we can rotate houses if that works better. If a parent has access to a community center or the like, that works great as well. I find the best number of kids for a class is 5, but I will go as high as 7. In a class of that size I like to have one of the parents helping out.

If one doesn’t have enough kids for a class, contact me and we can work something out. 10 sessions works really well for the development of a strong class dynamic but we can do less if that works better. In other words, we have a lot of flexibility.

We can also discuss a theme that the children might be interested in. This gives some structure for the class. There are so many themes to choose from; outer space, under the sea, bugs, architecture great and small, animal architecture, puppets, gardens and fairies just to name a few.

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