Thursday, July 24, 2014

2014-2015 Studio Research Questions

Welcome to the 2014-2015 Studio Year at Children's Garden Montessori

As adults we often struggle with direct connections.  
We label something as “tree”, “leaf”, “rock”, “flower”, and all too frequently, we dismiss it.  
It’s as if we live our lives in a sort of experiential short hand, eliminating depth encounters in favor of expedited cognitive constructs and established schemas.  We seldom challenge ourselves to become deeply immersed in the unpredictable landscape of the present.  
This poses a problem in how we interface with the natural world and one another.  
If we continue to see the natural world as separate from ourselves we will continue to degrade it and suffer for it.  As educators it is our responsibility to prepare children for the problems they may encounter while nurturing in them the capacities to create a better world. 
Therefore during the 2014-2015 school year (and quite possibly longer) the studio will be addressing the following hypotheses:
  • How can creative expression and forms of representation be used to deepen the process of relating with the natural world? 
    • (I intentionally chose relating rather than relationship because it better communicates the process of connecting which is a verb- dynamic and rich with possibility.)
  • How might educators connect observers and artists, young and old, directly to an experience and thereby deepen sensory engagement and potentially alter perception?
  • How might these depth encounters with the natural world support child development, wellbeing and promote stronger ecological values into adulthood? 
  • How might public opinion on the value of early childhood education, art and nature be elevated through research and ongoing family and community partnerships around this topic? 
Please join us as we embark together as partners in research and please join in the conversation!

With Enthusiasm, Respect and Gratitude,

Your Studio Teacher, Angelina

NOTE:  On September 11, 2014 from 5:30- 7:00, there will be an all school meeting to explore together the possibilities for this year in the studio and to dialog about nature and childhood.  Current families, please plan to attend.

Some of the literature these hypotheses are drawn from include:

Aimone, S. (2009). Expressive drawing: A practical guide to freeing the artist within. New            
     York: Lark Books.
Barone, T., & Eisner, E. (2012). Arts based research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications,   Inc.
Brown Jr., Tom. Grandfather. New York, NY: Berkley Group, 1993. Print.
Fox, Jill E (2013). When Children Draw vs When Children Don’t: Exploring the Effects of 
     Observational Drawing in Science. Creative Education, 4 (7), p. 11.
Imm Kang Song, Y. (2010). Art in nature and schools: Nils-Udo. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 
     44(3), 96-108.
Lee, P. C. (2012). The human child’s nature orientation.  Child Development Perspectives, 6 (2). 193-
Louv, R. (2008). Last child in the woods. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin.
Sobel, D. (2008). Childhood and nature: Design principles for educators. Portland, MA: Stenhouse.
Strauch-Nelson, W. (2012, May). Reuniting art and nature in the life of the child. Art Education, 65(3), 
Wahl, D. C. (2005). “Zartre empire”: Goethean science as a way of knowing. Janus Head, 8(1), 58-76.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Studio

We are back!
Thank you so much for your patience last year as I postponed blogging in favor of completing a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology.  With that done, the blog is back and I am excited for this year!  I have some wonderful ideas, theories and research to share and of course I look forward to learning from and with each of you and your children in the year ahead.

As many of you know the studio at our school is a wonderful hot spot of collaboration, creative expression, investigation and much, much more.  This year we look forward to forging more dialog between the studio environment, classroom environments and outdoor environments.  We also look forward to nurturing connections between home and school environments within the broader community context.  It is an exciting year!

Please bookmark this blog and feel free to share it with family and friends.  It is an invaluable resource and tool for you to have the inside scoop on what takes place in the studio and how the children's research and inquiry evolves throughout the year and mine as well.

And as always, please contact me if you have any questions, comments or ideas at: