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Children are blank canvases waiting to be masterpieces

Most everyone can identify a famous painting like the Mona Lisa or Whistler's Mother.

The images of these two masterpieces are forged into our minds as important pieces of art.

Some very young artists in our county have been busy expending the same creative energy on canvas that produced these works.

While these special paintings, created by children at the Lawrence County Early Childhood Center, may not be as artistically significant as a Rembrandt or a Van Gogh, they are significant nonetheless.

Each child should be celebrated for his or her distinct abilities and characteristics.

Tiny hands clutching paintbrushes, painting orange clouds or purple flowers remind me to appreciate the uniqueness of each boy and girl.

I may not see the same things seen by a child's eyes, but I can understand the child's wonder at things that I may take for granted everyday.

The minds of children are like blank canvas.

The early experiences of the child help paint the masterpiece that becomes the man.

That's why learning by doing is important; why words and books and learning to write are vital. Each experience puts color, light and shadow on the portrait that is the child.

And, that is why each child should be valued, nurtured and celebrated.

The Week of the Young Child will be celebrated at the Early Childhood Center this week with special events geared for children and families.

The week's premiere event will be held on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The public is invited to a special art auction to benefit the purchase of adaptive play equipment for the Early Childhood Center.

More than 100 pieces of original artwork - on canvas - created by the children of ECC will be auctioned.

Bidding starts at $5.

Each painting to be auctioned is an original - just like the artist responsible for each work.

Who knows?

You may end up bidding on a piece created by the next Picasso or Pollack.

Sue A. Vanderhoof is Director of Early Childhood Programs of the Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. She is also Director of the Lawrence County Early Childhood Center, which serves more than 300 children in various programs.

She can be reached at 740-377-2356 or via e-mail at: svanderhoof@lawrencemrdd.org.