Meet HomeLearnersNetwork Guide, Amber Santos!
Muralist, musician, dancer, hockey mama and amateur surfer, Amber is a person of many talents. She identified as an artist at an early age, and explores art in all its forms with a focus on visual arts. Having spent over 20 years as a professional artist and over 12 years teaching art with SelfDesign Learning Community (SDLC), she’s grateful she can create safe spaces for kids to express themselves and connect with others as a Guide for HomeLearners Network.
“It feels nourishing to see kids using their hands, processing things and having an outlet,” said Amber. “Knowing that their brains are creating serotonin while they express their unique perspectives is amazing.”
Amber has worn many hats as a professional artist including art educator, art administrator and curriculum designer.
Making connections through art
Art has helped Amber figure out her own identity, process emotions and make connections with other people. When designing her projects, she said, “I teach from a place of experience and excitement, but I also listen deeply to what kids want and what they’re experiencing. I’m grateful to get to know kids and see what’s interesting and emergent for them. You can really get to know someone when you spend an hour making art together.”
Amber loves experimenting with different approaches, materials and tools. One of her favourite things about being a Guide is brainstorming and collaborating on new project ideas, preparing and developing materials and of course when she’s in a live Activity with the kids.
“The best part is the live moments with kids—looking up at the screen and seeing everyone busy making with their hands,” explained Amber. “It makes my heart sing any time kids are surprised by what they’ve created, and when I know we’ve found the entry point where they can let go of critical voices and just enjoy the process of making something.”
The real digit-al
“The real ‘digital’ is when parts of our brain light up as we create things using our digits,” Amber said affectionately as she wiggled her fingers. This is why our Activities are focused on minimizing screen time with hands-on projects that aren’t discussion-heavy.
Amber grew up in the Kootenay region of British Columbia and is of German, Anishanaabe and Metis descent. She studied studio arts, photography and art history at Concordia University and at a university in Florianopolis, Brazil, and considers Brazil her second home. Not only can she speak fluent Portuguese, but she has a lot of French, Spanish and German under her belt too! She’s inspired by indigenous culture and resilience, social justice issues, identity, relationships, and belonging.
Do you and your kids want to take an art class with Amber? Check out Amber’s profile on HomeLearners Network for an interactive place to learn and have fun for kids and teens, ages 5-17.
HomeLearners Network offers a variety of online learning activities that can be done as a family, solo, or with friends in Realtime or as Anytime At Home Activities (AHAs), always with the support of a passionate educator like Amber!
Check it out today and create something beautiful at www.homelearnersnetwork.ca.