By Karla Mundo

It has been Giancarlo’s innate curiosity that has taken him into learning the elaborated folding process of Origami. Giancarlo, although not Japanese, has been exposed to many languages, cultures and world history, which has helped Giancarlo to develop empathy towards the variety of people who live in the United States. What makes the story of this boy more fascinating, is the fact that he had no mentor or tutor who guided him into mastering basic folds, or anyone who instructed him into the 1,2,3 of Origami.

Giancarlo, decided a few months before his 8th birthday to do Origami. He started using a regular blank piece of paper, cut into a perfect square. He was determined to make a cube. Once he mastered that, he continued with creating cranes and from there, infinite shapes started developing.

For Giancarlo, learning has been more about developing skills and talents than memorizing and repeating academic topics. Although he follows the California Basic skills Curriculum, Giancarlo’s education has been based on personal interests, Art, Music and apparently, learning skills that challenge his mind.

Giancarlo was only 9 months when he uttered his first words. Overlooking the Ocean he said “agua” – the Spanish word for water. From there he developed a rich Spanish vocabulary that led him to conversations at the early age of 2 years old. By the time Giancarlo was 3, he was reading in Spanish, and English flew naturally into his life. Before kindergarten started, Giancarlo was already an avid chapter-book reader. After that, he started showing an interest in chess, then electric circuits, coding, magic, intricate visual and manual educational games, and now Origami.

In an article named “Origami Improving Children’s Mind One Fold At a Time”, it states that Friedrich Frobel, the godfather of kindergarten was the first to introduce origami into formal education, considering the manipulation of the paper a way of allowing children to discover the principles of math and geometry. It is unfortunate that in our recent public school system, there is no mention of origami; but it is a gift that we all can discover, practice and treasure for life. Besides creating art, origami has been proven by researchers to improve certain health issues. Origami has been applied as physical therapy, and therapists have found that origami improves self-esteem, reduces anxiety and helps patients with ADHD and autism.

Although for Giancarlo, origami was found as a fun activity to do; origami is helping him with math concepts such symmetry, fractions, problem-solving, geometry, proportions and measurement. Origami is also said to help with visual motor skills, temporal spatial, logical reasoning, attention skills, concentration, creativity, manual dexterity and independent studies, among others. Origami also promotes peace, unity and relaxation that are so needed on these days in which we live stressful, hectic lives concerned about bullying and shootings in schools.

Thinking of all the benefits of origami, Giancarlo’s mom had the idea of sharing Giancarlo’s origami at as many local libraries in Orange County as possible. In January, Dana Pont will have and exhibit, and in March, it will be San Juan Capistrano. Mission Viejo is planning a date and Giancarlo is looking forward to have his work displayed to inspire children to unite into creating thousands of paper folding possibilities.

To see more pictures of Giancarlo’s Origami Gallery or to learn more about his path into homeschooling, un-schooling, independent studies go to the Facebook page —“>‎.