Ikebana for kids: Hong Kong and beyond
As a parent and educator, what has been most rewarding is to observe the differences in character and behaviour in a child. Children who learn Ikebana tend to become more observant and sensitive to the natural environment around them.
Do children learn fast?
It depends on age. Usually, children who learn at a younger age show more interest in all aspects such as the different colourful flower materials, and containers which catch their eye. Through Ikebana, we teach children about etiquette from Japanese culture of cleanliness, consideration of others and the environment, and harmony with natural elements. For example, flowers are cut in water to prolong their life, as flowers like us, require water to help them grow. It helps develop their sense of protecting and caring for the natural environment in the future.
Do children in Japan learn Ikebana?
In Japan, there are Ikebana workshops for children. Children join study tours at botanical gardens and attend performances by Ikebana teachers where an arrangement is used as a teaching tool to learn about the flow of water from rain to river, mountains and forests. Children participate in exhibitions where they share their work with others, and may also create group arrangements together.
Ikebana is a fun way to foster creativity, patience, and focus - not just in children, but also in adult learners. For kids, it trains their hand-eye coordination skills. Most importantly, however, as students of Ikebana, we come to appreciate nature and learn to think of how we wish to care for our planet. It's most rewarding to see personal growth in people not just in skill or technique, but as a person.
Q&A with Pauline Tsang Wong. December 2020.