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Why Zentangle?

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by Gillian McAuliffe

As a parent at Bold Park you may have heard your children or your children’s teachers talk about Zentangles. But what is this, and why do we encourage our students to focus on the structured patterns which make up the Zentangle Method?

We have engaged  Zentangle to address many different aspects of our students development. Focus, creativity, relaxation, ceremony, empowerment, abstraction, fun and discovery are just a few of the many benefits of this elegant activity.  We know that the development of intentional mark making, writing, needs an element of drill and practise to become embedded in muscle memory. The repeated patterns of Zentangle engage muscles and hand eye co-ordination in creating a memory and a strength to support all fine motor tasks that are encountered.

Focus on the task of tangling clears the mind and gets rid of noise leaving the tangler ready to learn and engage with new ideas and concepts. Ursula, our middle school/college maths teacher, has reflected that maths lessons after tangling are more productive than those not.

Tangle patterns require seeing not only the whole, but the parts of the whole thus allowing for greater understanding.Tangle pattern step outs break seemingly complicated and impossible patterns into easy doable steps. A lesson in life perhaps?

Seeing patterns in the world around us helps us not only to understand but create something new by changing/ combining patterns.

The strategies, tools and techniques that are learnt when tangling are those you need to draw and create in other mediums. Success and empowerment is a powerful motivator when attempting new things.

The patterns combine to create images pleasing to the brain. Thus confidence in being a creative person is restored and transfers to other forms of art.

Zentangle reminds us that ‘Anything is possible, one stroke at a time’. So at Bold Park we have chosen to tangle with our students, to utilise the benefits of tangling to support the development of our students.

During my recent Long Service Leave I attended a course to become a Zentangle Teacher. I had the great pleasure of meeting the founders of the method, to listen to the stories of others and understand the method at a deeper and more respectful level. Like all other elements of your child’s development; Zentangle will work best if it is supported and understood by parents and families.

Personally I have found another special thing about Zentangling. I look forward to tangling with my daughter every Sunday. At 20 she is an independent soul but being able to create together is a very special gift.

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