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Research

Referees

Reviews
Critiques


Professional Target Groups & Main Objectifs of The Timeless Hour

Major object:

Harmonizing the 2 hemispheres of the Childs brain in ’Learning by doing’ benefiting both children and tutor, their relationship and the process of  knowledge exchange.  Target group - Tutors and Remedial Teachers in Education and Counsellors in Health Care.  This book is a unique method which furthers expression by movement from intuition leading to tranquillity of the mind through training in individual and collective drawing- and claywork exercises. 
Learning by doing in which a child can discover  its power of exploration, the expression of itself and its ability to exchange experiences.

Because of the completeness of the method, these skills stimulate the integrationo all talents of the left -and the right hemisphere
of the brain. All exercises in The Timeless Hour link up with universal human principles and are not bound to culture or nationality. The emphasis in The Timeless Hour is on pedagogics. Tutors don’t have to be skilled in any field of art to apply it’s method.
Essentials
The method and exercises as described in ‘The Timeless Hour’ stimulate the development of the three intelligences.
This ‘learning by doing’ process results in harmonising the mind of the child and has positive effects on

§         Concentration
§         Visualisation faculties
§         Creativity
§         Self-confidence
§         Social interaction & Cultural integration 
§         Cognitive faculties
§         Immunity to stress
§         Physical health

Since nowadays society is evermore complex, it is important that children develop and integrate the three types of intelligence: cognitive-, emotional- and social intelligence.
Children as well as adults are confronted with deeply touching developments. It is their task to give sense to these events and to make conscious choices in the realization of their lives, in private life as well as in there profession.

Mental and social wellbeing

The visual exercises in this method are a means to the major object of mental and social wellbeing. They are not meant to create esthetic artwork or to develop creative-art faculties. However, they certainly contibute to creativity in all art- and creative subjects.  Scientific fields - The vision and the exercises in this workbook correspond closely with the development in the last 30 years of sciences as pedagogy, neurology and social philosophy.  

Practice –
Application already in several Primary schools (incl. team training) / Professional Education / Boddaert Foundation /  Innovation in Province Drenthe (High school) /  Counsellor trainings Primary School, Remedial Teaching / Pharos-Dutch Refugee Aid Org. / Inst. Child & Justice, Amsterdam  / A.D.H.D. Care (Psychiatrists) / Foundation Care for Epileptic Children / Most of all HBO Education in Art –and Creative Therapies in holland.

A unic event: New Handbook of Creative Thery in Holland.

In 2009 the board of the N.V.C.T. the Dutch society of Creative Therapist  officially edited  and published a complete new handbook with  40 methods in creative therapy in Holland.
One out of 40 methods applied in Holland over the years have been brought together in one handbook in Creative Therpy. One of the methods in this book is 'the Timeless Hour'.
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Research

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Research at the Training-Institute for Art Therapy, Utrecht, The Netherlands

medium: visual arts

Naqiba Bergefurt
 Amsterdam / the Netherlands.

 

Subject:  Research

Research into the method of the Timeless Hour that author Michiel Czn. Dhont describes in his book .

Regarding to its possibilities for Art Therapy; a case study in respect to its merites in the sense of prevention with immigrant children with developmental problems.

 

On the Author of this research

Naqiba Bergefurt (1954)  studied pedagogy at the university in Utrecht / the Netherlands, worked with children in various settings like special care and a development project in New Delhi.
She has trained herself in visual arts, especially painting.
She did the training in art therapy of Annette Brederode in Amsterdam.
She studied at the Art-studio  'Werkplaats Molenpad'  founded by Michiel Czn.
Dhont in Amsterdam / the Netherlands..
Naqiba
is finishing her study with this thesis at the Art Therapy Institute in Utrecht / the Netherlands..

 

On the research group

The study took place at a Primary school where more than 80 % of the children has an immigrant background. All these children have language problems and many of them also have social-emotional problems as a result of there not being integrated in the Dutch culture.
The girls often show a lack of selfrespect and self confidence, resulting in withdrawl from or overadaptation to the group.
The boys cover their disrespect with acting out or nonadaptation in their behaviour.

 

Planning of the sessions

The course consisted of 9 lessons, one hour weekly, to a group of five children, 8 to 10 years of age.
Every session, one or two exercises of the method of Michiel Dhont were given. The first three lessons were used as a kind of diagnostic period.
After that I have made my choices for  the kind of exercises that related to the observations I made of the children and their dealing with problems.
In the same way I have made certain adjustments to the way the exercises were offered.
I gave them only individual instructions, mainly on the basic level,  five lessons drawing, four times working with clay.  
To also relate to the  social aspect I gave them a group-warming up at the beginning of every lesson.

 

Outcome of the research

All the children were somehow out of balance.

The basic drawing exercises are a very good diagnostic instrument to show tensions or lack of structure.

In two of the children I saw too much tension (also fysically) and great problems to find cohesion and inner direction. 
Both children became more relaxed, quiet and more selfdirected by the end of the course.

Another girl was too fat, very passive and depending, showed no emotion or expression.
By the end she lost weight, was much more alert, responding in her own way, going for herself.

The fourth girl, who was very silent and controlled, broke out of her role pattern and rebelled and relaxed.

The only boy in the group felt frustrated, which was more due to his temporary situation than to any personality problem (he has just arrived in Holland).
He was not motivated for the therapy and quit after four times.
His drawings showed no inner disturbances, in the way the drawings of the girls did.

After the boy quit the girls became more relaxed and enjoyed more what they did!

 

Please, for more information on this theme / research you can mail to:
Naqiba Bergefurt
   /    naqiba@planet.nl

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Reactie van een Kunstzinnig therapeut / Art Therapist / the Netherlands
Ik ben Silvia Fiorini, een kunstzinnige therapeut in opleiding.
Vorige jaar heb ik tijdens de opleiding Kunstzinnige therapie in Leiden / Nederland een paar oefeningen in beeldende expressie gedaan die afkomstig zijn uit je atelier en je boek ’t Tijdloze Uur.
Ik heb er zelf heel veel aan gehad. Ze hebben mij geholpen in het nemen van belangrijke beslissingen.

Ik ben op dit moment stage aan het lopen in een school voor het speciale onderwijs Cluster 3
voor zeer moeilijk lerende kinderen. Ik  heb je boek "t Tijdloze Uur.

Ik vraag mij af in hoeverre deze oefeningen toepasbaar zijn t.a.v. zeer moeilijk lerende kinderen en welke ervaringen zijn er op gedaan tot nu toe hiermee.

Ik ben van plan om een aantal oefeningen uit te proberen o.a. in combinatie met vorm tekenen. Eventueel kan dit een mooi onderzoekproject worden voor de scriptie die ik na dit stage jaar ga starten.
Zijn er verder scholingen hierover gericht aan het werken met kinderen? Ik moet zeggen dat het boek heel veel informatie geeft en ik geloof dat het een kwestie van experimenteren  is.
Cursussen hierin kunnen extra enthousiast maken en inspiratie geven. Silvia Fiorini.

Art Therapist / the Netherlands
A reaction on working with the method of  'the Timeless Hour' just for herself.

My name is Silvia Fiorini and I am studying to become an Art Therapist at the Academy for Art Therapy at Leiden / the Netherlands.

In short:
Doing several exercises myself at home and at the Art studio  'Werkplaats Molenpad' of the author Michiel Czn. Dhont, it had worked a great deal to myself to be able to make important decisions in my life.
This method will be a nice research project to realise my script after this year of stage.
I intend to work with children with sever learning problems.
The workbook 'the Timeless Hour' itself gives a lot of practical information as well as background information. Folowing several personal courses will bring even more enthousiasm to me.
Silvia Fiorini

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REFERENCES
All people mentioned below are working with "The Timeless Hour".
They are willing to tell you more about their experiences with the method.

NEW: Cas Rooseboom working in Kenya...with 'the Timeless Hour'
cas@casrooseboom.nl

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Joke Zonneveld    info@jokezonneveld.nl
These are pictures of a session with small children in her own Art studio as well as in primary schools. Therfore she uses in many ways the exercises of the method of  'the Timeless Hour'.

Joke Zonneveld geeft schoolklassen de mogelijkheid een dagdeel in haar atelier in Uithoorn te komen  en gebruikt daarbij de oefeningen uit ’t Tijdloze uur.
 

In samenwerking met Irma Vroegop biedt ze de mogelijkheid aan op school zelf voorbereidende lessen te geven rond hetzelfde thema, gekoppeld aan  oefeningen rond “Geweldloze Communicatie” .
In beide activiteiten speelt het “los komen van het oordeel “ een grote rol. Verder geeft ze schilderles aan volwassenen, waarin de oefeningen uit het ‘t Tijdloze Uur een grote plek hebben.

meer informatie op  www.jokezonneveld.nl    en    www.ikvolgje.nl 

Reactie van een leerkracht op onze activiteit:
Ik merkte vandaag tijdens het tekenen dat de kinderen minder vaak de woorden 'mooi of lelijk' gebruikten. Ze kunnen nu meer hun fantasie tekenen zonder hierbij meteen een oordeel te geven. Voor mij als leerkracht geldt dat ik het heel erg leuk vond om te zien hoe sommige leerlingen die normaal gesproken weinig opvallen, of op en negatieve manier, nu juist heel leuk bezig waren. Kinderen die normaal gesproken druk zijn, faalangstig, of zich slecht kunnen concentreren, waren nu juist heel leuk aan het werk. Leuk om die kinderen ook eens echt gemeende complimentjes te kunnen geven, en hen in het zonnetje te zetten.

7   de klei laten wakker worden  /  'let the clay become awake'

15 diepe aandacht /  'deep concentration'

20 de klei voelen /  'to feel the clay'

21 de veilige plek /  'a safe place'

40 aan het tekenen /  'go and draw'

kortom een fijne herinnering aan een prachtige les   /    'in short: pictures of a wonderfull  rememberance to a fine lesson in 'learning by doing' with children'.

“In my work as a trainer of children, their teachers and teams "The Timeless Hour" method creates a synergy in individual and group processes.”  

Simone Rosier, art-therapist and trainer of children, their teachers and teams at primary schools.

Privat courses and consultations.
simone.rosier@planet.nl

  “I'm developing a broad, new kind of primary school, age 4-14. Integration of childcare, welfare and education are the major objectives. Development of all talents! Every child around this primary school, also children with special needs, can visit it. Basic assumption is, what I call “inclusive learning”. Because of workexperiences in the past and the content of ‘The Timeless Hour’ Recently Michiel Czn. Dhont accepted my invitation to participate as an advisor in the development of this project.”  

Job van Velsen - Director Primary School / Tutor / Chairman of initiating new methods of “inclusive learning” and structures in Teaching in the Netherlands.

J.Velsen1@chello.nl

  “The essence of the method described in - The Timeless Hour – is: gently rolling away the stones that obstruct the creative flow deep within every child and adult person. Working without judging removes one stone. Working regularly with closed eyes rolls away another stone. Using both hands activates the two hemispheres of the brain and makes it possible to carry away the third stone. When these and other stones are removed during the process, the last ones will be pushed aside by the power of the creative flow itself.”   

By Mrs. W. Uitgeest – Tutor Hogeschool Leiden, The Netherlands / artist / publisher / Art Therapy – bachelor degree.
uitgeest.w@hsleiden.nl

 

“For school and schoolteams we recommand the creative and existential approach as described in ‘The Timeless Hour’ by Michiel Czn. Dhont.” Scientific exchange in ‘learning by doing’ of the book ‘Linkedness’ and The Timeless Hour. Both books are about scientific exchange and acting in practice with children in many different circumstances.  

Anouk Depuydt and Gie Deboutte – Authors of project ‘Verbondenheid’ (‘Linkedness’)  / University of Leuven, Belgium Dept. of Didactic and Pedagogic sciences. www.verbondenheid.be

anouk.depuydt@law.kuleuven.ac.be

info@verbondenheid.be

  “Several times I worked with some items of The Timeless Hour-method. With bigger groups, even when they were restless, it really proved itself how it works. Children became more quiet and enjoyed the creation of their own expressive work.
It is important to really follow the method and repeat it several times. Take your time! A well prepared lesson is the power to succeed.”
 

Dick Visscher – Tutor and former director of a public primary school, Hardenberg, The Netherlands.

dick.visscher@planet.nl

  “From my 25 years of experience as a Primary school tutor and manager I recommend the use of the book the Timeless Hour. It helps to develop the personality of children. It’s an extra and basic dimension.”  

gerarddirks@hotmail.com

 

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Translation e-mail -  Luciette van Hezik luciettevanhezik@zonnet.nl
Luciette is working in a partnership, combining verbal and/or body therapy with expressive art therapy.
 
Dear Michiel,
Below my experience and vision regarding your methodology.  
I want to offer an example of the counseling of adults, where drawing out of movement and modeling with clay have had far-reaching results through a combination with Social Artistic Therapy.
In an individual counseling I met a woman who had the feeling in her life that she was stuck in a set pattern, where verbal therapy did not provide the desired results.
 
Out of the basic locomotion I guided her to the swaying balance movement, where she herself felt the need to work towards ‘The writing”, specifically the staccato.
In the alternation of staccato and melodic movement memories and images began to surface of an isolation chamber where she had spent time 16 years ago when she was admitted due to post natal depression.
 
Feelings of  powerlessness, sadness and anger surfaced, but also her expression of power, which surprised her and also gave her a liberated feeling. 
When I asked her which animal she could experience in this, she modestly indicated a cat, but in reality is was more like a lion!
Through the task out of  expressive art therapy to build a lion out of yellow clay, she has step by step been able to give a form to her 'snowed under force' and has integrated it into her daily life.
 
Another possibility for me to integrate Michiel Dhont’s method is in learning to express my own individuality.  As my thesis I want to do a study into the effect of using both hands as well as only the right and left hand with all the visual techniques of expressive art therapy to stimulate the halves of the brain which can occasion a complete harmonisation of man in his healing process.   (Translation: Liesbeth Rientjes)

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LIST OF PROFESSIONAL REFEREES TO THE TIMELESS HOUR

As above all the people mentioned below are also working with the method of
'the Timeless Hour'

They are willing to tell you more about their experiences with the method if you ask them by e-mail.

 

Chantal van der Erve / Tutor / Trainer Primary Schools with children and teams / cvde@tiscali.nl

Cocky den Duijf / Tutor Primary School / Mercuriusweg 440  1443 VN Purmerend / The Netherlands / cocky_den_duyf@hotmail.com
Cocky offered several pictures of the children in her own class to be found in the worbook 'the Timeless Hour'.

Dick Visscher / Tutor Primary School / dick.visscher@planet.nl

Gaudula van Vlissingen / Teacher Training College for Primary School / gaudula@planet.nl

Hanneke Beckers / Tutor Primary School / Initiator / www.aventurijn.org and info@aventurijn.org

Inge Evers / Tutor / Journalist / Visual artist / inge.d.evers@xs4all.nl
She has written an interview with Michiel groupteaching, edited in several magazines in Holland and Belgium / inspired and supported Michiel to write the workbook.

Job van Velsen / Director Primary School – Tutor Chairman of initiating new methods and structures in Teaching / J.Velsen1@chello.nl

Joke Schwencke / SKN –Foundation for Childrens Welfare Stamps Netherlands / and sponsor of 2000 Video cassettes of the Instruction-video delivered with the workbook / skn@skn.nl

Joop Kuijs / Headmaster of a primary School, Chairman of the federation of Jenaplanschools in the Netherlands; Chairman of the board of a school for special education. / dewilgenhoek@planet.nl

Luciette van Hezik / Therapist / Counsellor / luciettevanhezik@zonnet.nl

Marijke Rutten Saris / Mphil / author of many books about childrens' development  /  mrutten@chello.nl

Marijke Sluijter / Head Red./ Chairman of  EDUCARE Magazine /
Published an interview of Michiel his method in the magazine Educare /  educare@xs4all.nl

Meri Helga Mantere / Tutor University of Helsinki / Finland / Joined as an Art Therapist many Art Therapy courses in Finland as well as in France, where Michiel had been teaching /  meri-helga.mantere@pp.inet.fi

Rachel Frankenhuis / Tutor – Art Therapist / rachelfrankenhuis@planet.nl

Roeland Frank Hoefsloot / Tutor / Therapeutist / Author / www.dekleinetiki.nl /
Director and founder of the Art Therapy Centre
'de kleine Tiki'
Followed a one-year course in Amsterdam at Michiels'.  
info@dekleinetiki.nl

Ruud Emous / Educational Consulent / ruud.emous@3deecee.nl
Former Director of S.L.O. the Netherlands in Enschede / Initiation of new methods into Education of Primary School. Advised the Publisher of Lambo / Arnhem, to edit  'the Timeless Hour because of it unic approach in 'learning by doing'.

Ryanne van Os / Concellor in Coaching / selfmanagment / author: Personel Power- kosmos Z&K. / rvanos@xs4all.nl

Inge Vreeswijk / former student at Michiels' Art studio / Psychologist in profession and practicing the method 'the Timeless Hour' in her work with epilaptic children with amasing results / 
Nowheredays she educates students of the Univerity of  Amsterdam  in the method of 'the Timeless Hour'. /  ingeborgvreeswijk@hotmail.com.

Simone Rosier followed many courses at the Art studio of Michiel / her profession is: Coaching / Training Primary School - children, adults and teams / private coaching Art Therapy. /  simone.rosier@planet.nl

Silvia Fiorini / Art therapist / training disabled children with the method of
'the Timeless Hour (see above. /
fiorini.silvia@gmail.com

Rudolph Kempers / Visual artist / teacher Primary School / specialized in working with the method of  'the Timeless Hour' towards multicultural integration.
tel: +31 - 06.44381922   no e-mail.

 
I. Steinert  contributed to the development of The Timeless Hour. She has been working for years at the University of Amsterdam. Her major subject in pedagogics is ‘Profession – Language – Learning by doing’.
Her major publication is: I. Steinert, De betekenis van Feuerstein's gedachtegoed voor het onderwijs: Mediatie als vorm van begeleidend onderwijs en leren in de klas. (About the significance of the vision of Feuerstein in education…) Samson H.D. Tjeenk Willink, Alphen aan den Rijn, 1998. Tel. Amsterdam + 3120 2644696; steinert@xs4all.nl / Paris + 33 143497937 / cordei@ccr.jussieu.fr

Jeroen de Wit /

jeroen71@gmail.com

www.source-energy-therapy.com/friends.html

Joke Zonneveld    info@jokezonneveld.nl
These are pictures of a session with small children in her own Art studio as well as in primary schools. Therfore she uses in many ways the exercises of the method of  'the Timeless Hour'.

Joke Zonneveld geeft schoolklassen de mogelijkheid een dagdeel in haar atelier in Uithoorn te komen  en gebruikt daarbij de oefeningen uit ’t Tijdloze uur.

In samenwerking met Irma Vroegop biedt ze de mogelijkheid aan op school zelf voorbereidende lessen te geven rond hetzelfde thema, gekoppeld aan  oefeningen rond “Geweldloze Communicatie” .
In beide activiteiten speelt het “los komen van het oordeel “ een grote rol. Verder geeft ze schilderles aan volwassenen, waarin de oefeningen uit het ‘t Tijdloze Uur een grote plek hebben.

meer informatie op  www.jokezonneveld.nl    en    www.ikvolgje.nl 
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Reactie van een leerkracht op onze activiteit:
Ik merkte vandaag tijdens het tekenen dat de kinderen minder vaak de woorden 'mooi of lelijk' gebruikten. Ze kunnen nu meer hun fantasie tekenen zonder hierbij meteen een oordeel te geven. Voor mij als leerkracht geldt dat ik het heel erg leuk vond om te zien hoe sommige leerlingen die normaal gesproken weinig opvallen, of op en negatieve manier, nu juist heel leuk bezig waren. Kinderen die normaal gesproken druk zijn, faalangstig, of zich slecht kunnen concentreren, waren nu juist heel leuk aan het werk. Leuk om die kinderen ook eens echt gemeende complimentjes te kunnen geven, en hen in het zonnetje te zetten.


----------hier komen de foto's met de kinderen in de groep van Joke-------------.

7   de klei laten wakker worden  /  'let the clay become awake'

15 diepe aandacht /  'deep concentration'

20 de klei voelen /  'to feel the clay'

21 de veilige plek /  'a safe place'

40 aan het tekenen /  'go and draw'

kortom een fijne herinnering aan een prachtige les   /    'in short: pictures of a wonderfull  rememberance to a fine lesson in 'learning by doing' with children'.




Reviews / Critiques

Inner Images coming to life

 The timeless hour in elementary schools. English translation of an article appeared in the Dutch magazine ‘Educare’, year 19, nr. 1, 2001. Author: Margaret Bloemhof

 

It is a bit of a search to find Michiel Dhont’s workplace 'Werkplaats Molenpad'.
It turns out to be situated in a large old building in a nondescript back-street off Amsterdam’s famous hot spot, the Leidseplein. A maze of staircases and corridors eventually leads the visitor to a spacious loft under the beams of a roof-construction in which the shipbuilding-techniques of a past era were used; a vessel turned upside down.

Participants help themselves to coffee or tea. An easel carries a large board, a fresh sheet of paper tacked onto it. On the floor a circle of meditation-pillows. The main part of the room is empty. The place radiates frugality and a sense of purpose. All is ready for a day of drawing called ‘the Timeless Hour.’

During many years of working with students of all ages Michiel Dhont has developed a series of exercises aimed at developing ‘unity of head, heart and hands.’ The remarkable images that are the fruit of his approach, cannot but make one curious as to what it is that brought them about. Michiel, artist and musician, works with silence and movement, has students alternate between the dominant and non-dominant hand when drawing, use both hands at the same time, insist they don’t only knead clay but also feel and sense it, has objects change hands many times while being ‘worked on.’ This starts a process that will integrate the working of both hemispheres of the brain, release tension, lead to awareness of one’s creativity, enhance body-awareness, balance ‘felt senses’ and mental-cognitive powers. Michiel’s students are adults as well as primary school children. Catering to the latter group, the beautifully styled book-cum-video ‘The timeless Hour’ shows Michiel’s approach in 22 exercises that can be followed by schoolteachers wanting to link art-work and inner development. Applying these exercises opens a way for children to get to know their ‘inner images’, allowing an interweaving of perception and experience. The exercises stimulate intuition and help children to become ‘complete’ human beings. Today we will experience the working of it all, hands-on.   So it’s to the virgin sheet of paper we go, that is, after a short self-introduction, a movement-exercise and, last but not least, the putting away of our watches. This is to be a day outside the confines of time! We seat ourselves in a semi-circle in front of the easel. A kind of dance begins, in which one after another, sometimes two at a time, piece of charcoal in each hand, we participants draw our traces, witnesses of an inner movement that wasn’t known until this very moment, leaving marks of a highly individual ‘us-ness.’ We produce a drawing for all of us, yet possessed by no-one. In so doing we run into our conditionings regarding ‘me and mine,’ (in)tolerance of what others are adding, the taking and passing on of our turns. It is fascinating to see everyone’s responses, and to find how as a group almost instantly we form some kind of ‘body,’ a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. The ‘old hands’ tell us how different is each drawing made in this way, showing each group’s ‘soul’ to be unique. Soon all awareness of time and hour disappears, replaced by crystal-clear attention and an open space in which the unexpected can take place. After lunch we are each given a piece of clay that we roll into a ball and with which we connect in various ways: we hold it in our hands and feel it with eyes closed, we throw it in the air and catch it in different ways; in pairs and with closed eyes we knead it into a form that we hand to our partner at the signal ‘exchange.’ Silently we ‘feel through’ the object we receive and continue working on it. This exchanging is done many times; the series is closed by bringing the object to our forehead and observing it; from a distance, from real close by. The object and the process of creating it are re-felt and incorporated. There is a short verbal exchange on what took place. Next a drawing in crayon is made, a distillation of the process of working with the clay. Next comes painting, gouache on wet paper. We moisten the paper with our hands and ‘glue’ it onto one of the many boards by the wall, silent witnesses of countless other paintings that have originated here, in the empty squares in the middle, bordered by left-over traces of color, ineradicable, growing with each new painting that is being made. We cover the paper with a ground color, again using our hands. Then we may continue with brushes, but I have acquired a taste for this and using my hands I fill the paper with dots and lines in one color after the other. We close the day looking at all the paintings, sensing each one of them; a short tour through a New Age where the artist in each one of us is coming into his own. This is marvelous, this really feels great. Then the clay is returned to its original form and stored away, well moistened. Containers, boards, brushes and palettes get meticulously cleaned. All is ready for the next round.      

Teaching a ‘Timeless Hour’  
Hester, a NEI- therapist and mother is using Michiel’s method in her daughter’s elementary school. She has just started a new series of four lessons, one hour a week. “First I had them draw to music and with both hands. In the last class I used clay. I found that highly active children became more quiet, turned inward so to speak, ‘coming to themselves.’ It was remarkable how much the ‘cool’ kids liked this work. Everyone liked the drawing to music. Feeling the clay was difficult for them. So often children are told they’re only to look with their eyes, not with their hands; they need ‘permission’ for such a simple act. Bringing this up helped. Since I only have an hour at a time I needed to build up the level of attention for every class. I did this by starting each class with a fixed ritual. This more or less rebuilds the level we ended at the time before. Each class expands on that.  

Rudolph is a graduating artist, who studied with Michiel for a three year period, following every course in sight. A friend introduced him to the extra-curricular activities at a school in a deprived neighborhood of Amsterdam. Students there form a multi-ethnical population, have poor linguistic skills and many are hyperactive. Rudolph used Michiel’s approach “..in my own way of course, otherwise it won’t work.” Ages in his groups ranged from 7-12 . ”The age difference wasn’t so important. Once I had managed to get the group interested, everyone could participate in their own way.” Rudolph used music a lot.. He had children draw to the sounds of music with eyes closed and saw how the rhythms were expressed in their drawings. The children liked this. To his surprise he found that verbally weak children often were really good at drawing. The most difficult children were good in this field. “For these children, who often get a lot of negative attention because of their constant fidgeting and lack of concentration, it was great to discover something at which they were good and which elicited a positive response. At first Rudolph, as one of those ‘alternative guys,’ was eyed with caution. Once he had won the teachers’ trust he could pretty much do things the way he wanted. “But I had to adapt as well. Teachers at a regular school won’t buy a completely holistic approach. Not to mention the students. At ages eleven or twelve they start judging their work by outside values. In this kind of work you can get over that during a session. There is no telling if any of it will stay. For me this work is totally uplifting. It approaches these children in a way  that is not found elsewhere. I seriously consider getting my teachers’ license. Of course there are restrictions within the field of teaching Art. But I think it’s still possible within these limits to do a lot!”  
Author: Margaret Bloemhof  / Educare Centre & Magazine (Translation: Liesbeth Rientjes)
educare@xs4all.nl

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English translation of an interview in the Jonas MAGAZINE number 57, May 2002, The Netherlands.
This reflects the effects and comments of the tutor and the children regarding the application of the exercises from The Timeless Hour by author Michiel Czn. Dhont. In the playroom of primary school De Vijzel in Heerhugowaard a long piece of paper is lying on the floor and nine pupils, all seven or eight years old, sit down behind it, next to each other.  They have selected two bags of crayons to draw with, one for the left and one for the right hand. They will shortly start drawing with both hands. With eyes closed and to the rhythm of the music. The pupils call the lesson ‘ write-dancing’. Tutor Corrie Schouten, not only vice-principal of the Primary School De Vijzel, but also nursery school teacher and remedial teacher for locomotion defects, switches on the music.  

Not comfortable in their skin

Review in Dutch Magazine 'JONAS' / Education & learning.

According to tutor Corrie Schouten these children from groups three and four have a weak locomotion and problems concentrating. One child a little more of the one, the other child a bit more of the other , but all of them “are not comfortable in their skin”.   Every week she has the group for over half an hour. The lesson always starts with moving to the music.   Corrie Schouten has been giving these lessons for ten years. She uses different methods and for about a year now  has also been using the working method of ‘ The Timeless Hour” which was published in 2000.   Corrie Schouten: “Then you can be yourself. By drawing with both hands, both sides of the brain are stimulated, as the left side of the brain guides the right hand and vice versa. Meanwhile the children hear the music, by closing their eyes they exclude the outside world. There is no control of the hands through the eyes. This stimulates feeling. They are therefore active in various areas simultaneously. They feel, they hear, they move, they reflect. Basically the exercises teach the children to recognize and use their own abilities in both the cognitive and emotional areas”.  Pupil Bas about the exercise: “With my eyes closed and with the music I can think well. About how you are going to move over the paper with the crayon. I like that. You don’t think about anything else.” Daniza prefers the rubbing out of the crayon. “That feels soft.”   Just as at the beginning of the lesson, when the fists were still clean. they feel  one hand with the other. It is quiet, only the sounds from the schoolyard permeate into the play room. After a few minutes, the eyes may be opened. What have they felt? Does it feel different than before when they had not yet drawn with crayon?  Nigel: “ My nail is still smooth”. Linda points to the palm of her hand: “ This has become soft. And warm. And a bit sticky.” Robin feels nothing. “Nothing at all?” Corrie Schouten asks. “No”. “Are they warm? Or cold?” Robin, after a few seconds thought: “Warm.”. And in reply to the following question if he does not feel anything else, after another pause: ”And soft.”  

Blockade

Later on Corrie Schouten says about this: “When questioned Robin started to feel all sorts of things. My goal is that in a year from now he will reply to the question what he is feeling without any assistance. At the moment he still has a blockade: “I feel nothing.” According to her especially perfectionist children have trouble is just drawing something. “Just now, when we started drawing to music, one of them quietly asked me what he should draw. But we are not going to draw ‘something’, we are just going to draw. Perfectionist children want the drawing to be beautiful. That is the left side of the brain acting up. It more or less says: “This is the right way and that is not.” The drawing exercise is not meant for drawing a beautiful house. It is meant for stimulating the pupils’ emotional side. Just as the feeling of the hands. You make them aware of that feeling by letting them work with it. It is different from learning the table of three. That is important too, but that is the left side of the brain. That is activated all through the day. For instance, another time you exercise feeling is by kneading clay. The children make discoveries. They consciously experience that there is more than just their brain. That their bodies have all kinds of senses that they can name, feel and bring into play. I notice that it works this way because eventually the children themselves start talking about what they feel.” Pupil Daniza finds the “feeling” the most pleasurable. “We have also done it with clay. Then you have to knead and then exchange with someone else from the group. The other person’s clay felt so different. That was funny.”   How that Corrie Schouten notice that the children with an exercise become more ‘comfortable in their skin’? Schouten: “It often happens that after they have been busy, when they have finished they say: “ That was nice miss, when can we do it again?” They have felt comfortable, they have been themselves during that period of more than half an hour. What more can you achieve? Of course they go back to their regular class after the ‘write dancing lesson’. And there is once again more than enough attention for the cognitive. But even if they will have a tutor who only stimulates the cognitive side for a number of years, once the balance between emotion and reason has been introduced, they will never lose it again. I notice it when I see them again, sometimes years later”. (Translation: Liesbeth Rientjes)
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