Thursday, March 26, 2015

hoop dancers

The native american hoop dance that we experienced during the Biome Festival, inspired the children and this morning Vida rushed in telling me to come outside and see the children. When I opened the door, several boys broke into dance, hopping and hooping with celebratory glee.  It's a sweet reminder that we are learning all the time, in countless ways.

Monday, March 23, 2015

pigtails and portraits

G. arrived in the studio and announced, "Do you notice anything new about me, Angelina", while pulling on her pigtails.  I replied, "Hmmm.  Did you do something new to your hair?"  She beamed up at me, "I have PIGGIE TAILS". I asked if she wanted to draw them and she did.
 She drew her pig-tail self portrait four times, experimenting with different medias and scale as she did.
As the studio teacher for five years, it is strikingly obvious that art and creative expression meets curricular expectations and developmental needs.  It astonishes me that it is often relegated to the background of our educational system.
Obviously people need to spend more time observing children's creative expression,  I do it every day and every day I am amazed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Literacy in the studio

Literacy is the ability to construe a written, linguistic, alphabetic symbol system.  According to the Colorado Department of Education's preschool standards, "...literacy is one of the most important skills students acquire in preschool through twelfth-grade education because it makes all other forms of higher-order learning, critical thinking, and communication possible".  
Till came in studio and made a giant "T" and showed it to me.  We talked about it and through our conversation he decided that he wanted to make a whole alphabet.  Several other boys overheard the idea and expressed an enthusiastic desire to join in.

 For materials they scoured the outdoor environments in search of supplies.
The next day they were back in the studio working on 7x7 inch mat boards (previously requested by them and cut by me).  Soon letters adorned window ledges in the studio.
As they worked other children joined in the fun, naming letters and echoing the accompanying phonetic sounds.  Many would look at a letter and list off all the things they could think of beginning with that letter, "b": bear, bread, bee, butterfly, butt, etc.

It was a fabulous reminder that supported creative expression can support cognitive development in a variety of ways.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Light and color in the studio with the primary group

The primary children discovered the light table that I added to the studio after the toddlers explorations on Friday.
 The explorations developed along a similar path of inquiry as the toddlers initial introduction.
A great exploration of color and transparency and vision ensued.  I look forward to seeing the inquiry develop further in the weeks ahead.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Exploring light

 The toddlers spent the day enthusiastically exploring light and color transparencies in the studio.
 With the light projector the children discovered scale and projection with a contagious joyful exuberance.


As the year began, many of you might recall that I had grand research questions, like:  How can tools of representation and creative expression be utilized to encourage depth encounters with the natural world?  In a short time the children showed me that my question was flawed at the onset.  Children are not disconnected from the natural world, in fact they seem to encounter life with a fluidity of experience that will humble any adult.  They continued to redirect my thinking on the topic through their studio inquiries this year, eventually focusing on self portraits and feelings, reminding me that all inquiries and connections with the broader world begin with the self.  
With the freezing temperatures and heavy snow, the children found countless ways to explore the outdoor environment.  Their enthusiasm and wonder continues to encourage me to approach life with open curiosity and courageous inquiry.