Posted on August 24, 2015
Welcome to another wonderful year and the begining of a new journey.
For those of you that are new:
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE STUDIO (ATELIER)?
The studio is not an art class where I teach children to merely copy what I am doing. Neither is it a place "separate" from the classroom. Instead, the studio is an integral part of kindergarten and preschool learning. The kindergarten and preschool curriculum and project work blend into the studio where I work with small groups of children.
This is a vital space that allows for time, space, and provocation for the children. It is a place where we use artistic materials as a tool to better understand from multiple perspectives the curriculum and project work.
For example, we do not have a different "craft" every week. Rather, children work on projects over extended periods of time and often in groups. This time allows for real relationships to develop with materials and knowledge.
"The atelier underscores the importance of imagination, aesthetics, and the theory of the hundred languages in the formative and knowledge building paths; it contributes to giving visibility to the listening and the documentation of the learning processes of the children and adults"-Indications (Preschools and Infant Toddler Centres of Reggio Emilia).
I look at my role as a facilitator of learning. The space of the studio is where we as teachers can study the learning processes of the children, document, and provide provocations to further nudge, expand, and deepen the thinking of the children.
When we begin a new journey every year together, our children are flooded with new experiences they are exposed to new ideas, new thing,s new friends, and even new environments full of multiple perspectives and learning. As teachers we think very carefully about what and how we will provocate and build relationships with the children. We think about our new community's and begin with experiences that will help us get to know each other and build our learning community by thinking about the learning process itself.
Observation and the nuances of seeing and noticing are one of the most important building blocks of the learning process. The more you see and notice in any expierance the more you can connect to it build empathy, speculate, hypothesize, foresee problems and solutions, build knowledge.
I like to use the example of the surgeon whocan see every detail of the patient he is operating on.
In kindergarten within our inquiry the children in the classroom have been looking at their favorite pictures of themselves and allowing their friends to play this game of noticing and observing by looking for clues to where and why this might be the child's favorite photo. We observe and take note at the strategies the children are using as they look at the photos
context of the familiar
variations of the questions--notice a good strategy and try to tweak it
night and day (light)
All very clever strategies!
This game as well as our work with drawing materials in the studio helps slow the children down and help them build this art of noticing.
After spending sometime drawing and thinking about interesting experiences from the summe,r the children have been given a challenge, just like finding clues about the drawing materials that tell us about what they can and can't do. We naturally started with this material because we use drawing often to understand children's theories, and it is a tool the children need to understand better before using it to express ideas.
"This marker is like a spork! It has two sides one for making thin lines one for making thick lines."-C.
We are looking at 12 different types of drawing pencils and pens to begin to build knowledge around this medium. the children make observations and express the way different markers feel and what they can and can't do. I often use the example that you would not give a box of crayons to an architect and expect him or her to design a building. You would need the right tools.
"You would choose the very thin pen to make the hairs of your eyebrow."-T
For the next couple of weeks we will continue these provocations with the children as our community begins to grow together.
In preschool we have begun by building some base knowledge and relationships with clay and paint often media itself can bring children together even if they are not working together they spend a lot of their time observing each other and what each other is doing.
Children learn so much from their peers and in preschool we begin with experiences that are very open-ended and inviting. Within the photos I share, can you see the exchange of ideas and the beginnings of friendships and dialogue with the paint as the provocator?
These experiences are vital to our learning community as we begin this journey together.
A dialogue of lines between friends
E glances over to observe this dialogue perhaps to take back some inspiration to her own painting
H quietly watches from behind and listens as S explains his painting.
When H goes to paint he adds in the idea from S's painting into his own and adding his spin on it.
J approaches K saying, "There are some places that need paint, here and there." K replies joyfully respecting the advice of her friend and says, "oops!" and laughs as she adds more to her work.