Monday, September 12, 2011
Back in the saddle again
WELCOME BACK! School is in full swing again and the beautifully prepared environments are a hum of activity. The studio itself, didn't officially open until last week and students eagerly entered the space with a desire to explore. I decided to make a few changes. First, I am subtly introducing grace and courtesy lessons, with a tone and presence which supports what the teachers are already doing and builds on what the children learned last year. The returning students have been an enormous help in reminding the new children to put an apron on, tuck in a stool or put materials away. Second, I decided to begin the year with free exploration of the environment. I put out a variety of provocations, including: paint at the easel, water-soluble oil pastels, drawing tools, collage, mixed media supplies, light/shadow exploration and non hardening clay. I have been watching the children carefully and documenting their interests, explorations and questions.We continue to begin each day with a daily drawing. This remains a gentle transition from classroom activities toward more open studio explorations.Each child then has the opportunity to talk with me about the drawing. Occasionally they volunteer information and sometimes I offer comments about line quality, shape, composition, etc.An interesting study emerged in the first few days. The children began making puppets, one right after another, with interest and enthusiasm. I will continue to observe this interest and am already drafting a number of questions to unearth a deeper understanding of their curiosity and how best to follow it.The studio will take on a new role for a few weeks as we prepare for our annual auction. The studio will participate in creating class gifts in partnership with the parents. I look forward to another fun year with the children. Keep checking back to see how the days and months evolve.