Children use a hundred languages to express themselves, I won’t name them all, art is one of those ways.
Art in a Reggio-inspired classroom allows children a safe space to explore and develop, where they can share their interests, what they are curious about, and what excites them. Each student is celebrated for who they are and how they express that with the world around them. As teachers, we learn about what is important and central to them by listening and observing their growth. The atelier, the art studio, plays an important role in enhancing the community and guiding us to notice what the children’s interests are.
Since the very beginning of the school year, the PreK class has shown a love for creating art projects. We have taken this interest and set out art provocations. A provocation is simply a way to inspire a child’s creativity and activate their engagement. It may be to provoke an idea, a project, a thought, or interest. We set out art supplies that have NOT included a paintbrush. These things have included balloons and trays of paint, clothespins with pom-poms, cotton balls or other objects, a spray bottle of paint and items we collected in nature, and cups filled with soap, paint, and a straw to name a few. We have asked questions like “Can you paint without a paintbrush?” or “Can you use nature to make art?” We ask these questions to expand how they think of art and the art process. It’s not about the final product but the process of how they got to the final product. We hear things like “Look! I made green!” and “The balloon makes swirly circles,” or “Can I paint with a rock? Oh, look! I can! What else can I paint with?”
On top of expanding their views of art and how different art can be made, we incorporate science, math, literacy, and growing our sense of community. I am most proud of how the class has really become a tight-knit community of children who truly care about each other. It may be seen when an older student helps a younger classmate figure out how to hang their paper on the painting easel or when one child helps another child push up their sleeves when their hands are covered in paint.
I can’t wait to see what the PreK class comes up with next! It is always an adventure!