Friday, October 28, 2016

Pumpkins and Autumn with the Toddler class

The toddlers spent the day exploring pumpkins through the senses.  First we dug the slimy seeds out, smelling the wonderful aroma of fresh pumpkin.
 We then roasted the seeds...
 And listened to the sound of seeds rattling in the bowl before eating the roasted seeds... which tasted "a lot like popcorn".
 Next, we colored tissue paper leaves....
And the leaves were hung on the ceiling outside the classroom as a surprise for the children.  The display was greeted with wonder and awe.
To continue the exploration at home, here is a song we sang awhile looking at the laminated pumpkin.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It takes a village...

The 440 class has had a number of parents already lending their talents to the class!  
 One parent came in to make grilled cheese sandwiches with sliced cucumbers.
 The children agreed that they were delicious!
Another parent brought in a glittery palette of paints and mini pumpkins for the children to decorate.  The results were stunning.
And today we had a parent and two siblings join the afternoon class for pumpkin carving!!
It really does take a village to raise a child.  Whenever we come together, sharing our enthusiasm and inspirations alongside the children, our community is enriched and our learning is shared and deepened.
If you want to hear about other ways to get involved, please ask me or your classroom teachers... we are all eager to share.

birds and soap on Detroit St.

 The extended primary class went on a community walk in search of birds and the many sensory expressions of autumn.  As we approached the Tam O'Niell Fine Art's Gallery, we were delighted to see some Audubon prints!
 The children spent some time "drawing like scientists", otherwise known as observational drawing, their favorite Audubon print on display.  Pictured above, Vida points out how the birds coloration's help camouflage them from predators.
 Once the children finished their Audubon inspired drawings they found a place in the sun to contemplate natures beauty, once again drawing their observations in notebooks.
 As we prepared to leave, the kind people at The Soap Box invited us in to smell the soaps and wonderful products on display.  They have warmly and regularly welcomed our walking groups in to the store for smell tours, always offering the children small soap samples to take with them.
 It was an eventful and wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bird watching and the art of John James Audubon

We continue to investigate what inspires us using a variety of materials in the studio.  The children have been painting, drawing and sculpting the things that fill their hearts with love and a desire to create.  This week I brought in the work of John James Audubon who painted what inspired him...BIRDS!
The children are looking at Audubon's bird illustrations and applying their observational drawing skills to communicate what is seen.
In order to support this looking process, I endeavor to slow down the process.  Together we examine the shapes and lines, experimenting with how we might communicate our observations on paper.
A bird wall is emerging in the studio.  We will continue this wonder-inspiration-looking process over the next several weeks.
You can join us at home by looking at some of Audubon's famous prints, listening to the songs of birds and watching their preparations for the coming cold.  Please share your observations with the whole family and with the studio... In this way the conversation continues and deepens.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Neighborhood walks and tree-talk

The children and I are continuing our walking tours, noticing the many sounds, textures, smells and sights of autumn and other interesting details along the way.
Here is a glimpse from a recent walk:
We noticed that different leaves feel differently.  Some are rough "like sand paper", while others are smooth.
Each group has two photojournalists who are responsible for photographing the sights along the way and the rest of us are the finders, responsible for pointing out interesting things and gathering fall inspiration to be used in the studio.
As we walked along the sidewalk we noticed a crunching sound beneath our feet... "SIDEWALK MUSIC!!", the children hollered, walking animatedly back and forth.  In our search for the origin of the sound we found some long shaker seeds.
 We noticed another "seed tree" further along the way.
 Next, we found these fabulous buckeyes and loaded a few in our basket.
We discovered grand, old tree and laid down beside it's weathered trunk.  We looked up at the leaves moving in the breeze, the sunlight dancing in the branches and the blue sky emerging from behind the yellow canopy.
We talked together about the way trees communicate to us and the children wanted to say something back.  Using the materials we found along the walk, the children created a beautiful gift for the tree.
When we were all done, we stood back and admired our tree-talk.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Clay, Inspiration and Discovery alongside our resident mud expert, Amy

Amy Laugesen has joined the studio for the week, offering her amazing talent and spirit to our explorations.  Together we are investigating inspiration and communication through the language of clay.  Amy shared with us her long standing love of horses, even bringing in childhood drawings and a photo of her first equine friend Tic-Tac, who has remained a source of inspiration for her work to this day.
We are approaching the week a bit differently than in years past.  Amy has agreed to share her sculptural process with us allowing us see how she works in her own studio. 
We are learning so much, deepening our tactile vocabulary and discovering what inspires us and how we might share that with one another.
 So far we've had pigs, horses, birds, eggs, turtles and Cookie-Cookie.
 Stay tuned for more updates as the week unfolds.
To find out more about Amy's work, click here: