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Preschoolers draw their own conclusions in South Fayette class

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Sisters Naavya and Divya Paluri attended the Holiday Crafts Galore at South Fayette Township Library on Dec. 21.
Sisters Naavya and Divya Paluri attended the Holiday Crafts Galore at South Fayette Township Library on Dec. 21.

Beginning Jan. 13, preschoolers will have the opportunity to turn lines into shapes and then into recognizable objects at South Fayette Township Library.

This drawing class, ending on Feb. 24, will be taught by Prajakta Joshi Patankar, a formally trained artist in her native India. On Monday mornings from 10:30 to 11:15, students will practice basic shapes by putting crayons to paper.

“Sometimes, the kids don't get a lot of training in drawing,” the Bridgeville resident said. “Here, they'll have the opportunity to make shapes and build onto them and draw things that they see.”

They will begin with circles and move on to ovals, squares, rectangles and triangles. Caregivers will be able to assist their children and perhaps have them practice their newly learned skills at home.

“I have noticed that kids get very excited when simple circles turn into cats, bunnies or ninja turtles, and squares can turn into houses and robots,” she said.

By learning each shape, practicing and revising, each child should have a piece of art to be displayed.

In private sessions at her home, Patankar has taught students as young as 4, using themes, holidays or seasons for inspiration. She is looking forward to teaching a larger group of youngsters.

“They do need a lot of guidance and help to make distinguishable things,” she said, “but they will do well enough for it to be recognized.”

Jody Wilson, the library's family and community services manager, knew of Patankar's work from the library's fall festival, when the artist had volunteered at one of the cultural booths. Then, with a $210 grant from the Friends of the Library, Wilson was able to bring her back.

“Her class is different than the Magic Dragon Club for children in grades 1 through 5,” Wilson said.

The club meets at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. After students listen to some video instruction, they create. In April, the children will submit their best work to the Magic Dragon Children's Magazine for publication. Online registration for the Magic Dragon Club allows parents to select all of the classes their child might attend. Space is limited. Visit the website and click on the calendar of events section.

Wilson is thrilled that interest in the art class is growing.

“We can take 25 kids at one time, but we'll probably get 30,” she said.

Registration is required for the preschool drawing class, and space is limited. Click on calendar of events at or call 412-257-8660 to register for all six classes. There is no class on Feb. 17. A suggestion donation is $5 per session.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or

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