Building Relationships and Making Connections - Mid-Pacific Institute

Art - Guillory

Building Relationships and Making Connections

Posted on September 24, 2017

by Ms. Guillory on September 24, 2017

Preschool and Kindergarten Atelier Experiences


In preschool we are working on a few different provocations. In the studio there is a space set up where the children have been working, imagining, creating stories, and building their ideas with materials. The plexi-glass you see has been set up for the children to be able to see connections in their work because of the transparency, i.e., a transparent connection. Unlike a doll house where you cannot see in all directions, the plexi-glass offers possiblities for extended thinking and imagining.


We have also gone from noticing the tips of the drawing materials to the way we fill in with color to the tips of the paint brushes and the care of the pallette (washing out brushes and taking care of the paint). The children have been working together creating different connecting lines and then having addtional experiences filling in and looking at the nuance of color.



We also have a photography studio set up in one classroom where you can see bamboo from our walk to the bamboo forest, set up like a still life. With small framing windows, the children are asked to find visual connections. This provocation is for children to begin to build the skills of actually shooting photos but also to help them to see in different ways and to shoot a photo from different perspectives. These framing windows are also provocations for compositions, connections, and the elements of photography itself. This will support the children as we go out on our research trips, developing this way of seeing and learning and documenting through the lens of the camera.

In Kindergarten




We continue to learn in workspaces and expose children to and investigate different materials. In the studio, the children continue to work with the drawing materials, learning how to care for materials, how the materials work, and about the different types of paper (see blog below).

As we have been spending a lot of our time on research trips around school and in group discussions please see our joint blog this week ;)




(Above: V asks M if she can work with him filling in the color on his drawing)

As I sifted through hundreds of photographs and documentaion from the past month, I began to notice a pattern. This idea of relationship/connectedness and sharing knowledge was evident in so many of the experiences children were having together. As I poured through these experiences, I noticed that the photos were visual testimony of children sharing knowledge, discoveries, and strategies, all while interacting and discovering through materials or media. In this blog I'd like to share with you some of these moments in the studio and in our research walks.

We continue to have many experiences with drawing, using different types of papers, painting and photography so that the children can continue to build a tool kit for expressing and collecting their ideas. Notice that the materials go beyond just drawing or painting but delve into the very deep layers of connecting to and understanding a material and its affordances. One example of this is the papers the children have been drawing on and their different qualities. When looking at this documentation, notice the way the children are sharing and passing knowledge to each other and notice how much of a deeper level understanding they are having with the material itself.



G first notices that when he draws on the acetate, one side holds color while the other turns black. G then says it makes my picture look like itʻs night now!


As G tests out the next papers, he begins to share his ideas with his friend working next to him passing on what heʻs learning to her. Below he adds two ideas together, first the red paper then the blue over it. Here he notices that again the color changes the effect and feeling of his drawing, remarking that this effect is like the shade of the sunset.

So why is this significant? All of the things the children notice, observe, and share with each other can later be used when they are expressing an idea. They will then be able to think and express their ideas on another level.

For instance, instead of G just drawing a sunset, now G has discovered a way that he might express that differently, more complex. He might color different shades on transparency with specific markers and then show you how and why it changes. He might use oil pastels to blend colors because now he understands that that material can blend like he sees in the sky at sunset. He will have more ideas and better ways to express his ideas.



This idea of sharing ideas and building relationships can be seen through small gestures as they are indicated below. E carefully shows A what happens to her drawing when different types of transparencies and translucencies are put on top. A notices that not only does her drawing change, but pieces of it are missing!


Below M in a different small group makes a very similar gesture to his friend M


Below we see even a simple moment like taking a photograph can be a sharing of an idea. Notice how T observes C as he shoots a Polaroid of his idea. He watches it develop with T and tells her about his idea about how the trees are connected to Mid-Pacific.




Above you can see again a similiar sharing in preschool as these two children look at the different sizes of brushes and what kinds of lines they can create with them. The provocation itself set up to help the children take turns and watch each otherʻs ideas unfold.









Above P shares all her discoveries with Y and several very important ideas are being discovered. P is seeing and testing out several different types of papers and their transclucency. But she also uses the clear paper creating different colors in order to change and transform her orginal drawing. She also tests this on the colored paper. Does it also change the face of her drawing the way the clear paper did? Towards the end of her worktime, P and her friends tested her papers on the over head, seeing if the color of the paper itself could project, which it did. Again this knowledge is invaluable because P discovered this phenomena on her own while learning the nuances of this material.





In preschool K, like P, notices first the transparency of the paper as you can see she looks through it and then tests out each addtional paper witht the same strategy. She discovers what she can and cannot see through, finding pure joy sharing this with her friend F!