This past winter, SMCC preschoolers at Newfields (formerly the Indianapolis Museum of Art) had the opportunity to work with museum staff to design the curatorial labels for the upcoming exhibition "Summer Wonderland: Spectacular Creatures." Our students first became involved in this project when audience engagement staff members and an intern interviewed our students to get their ideas on what to name the exhibit that would feature giant animals made from recycled materials. Inspired by the students' work during these interviews, museum staff approached the preschool with the idea of allowing the students to name the animals arriving at the museum in June, as well as recording any stories the children might have about these spectacular animals.
Preschool staff at Newfields designed a series of provocations in the classroom designed to spark students' curiosity and interest in advance of their participation in this project. And to the delight of all involved, Newfields staff members loved the setup so much, that the project was again expanded. SMCC staff set up a similar "stage" for the students' stories, and Newfields staff enlisted the help of onsite videographers and photographers so that students' stories could be recorded as well as documented. After reviewing all of the wonderful stories, preschool and Newfields staff members collaborated on how to best document this project, and decided on publishing a book featuring professional photographs of SMCC students, transcriptions of their stories, and possible links to an online portal where visitors could listen to the students' stories in their original forms.
The exhibit opens to the public on June 1st, and our students and families have been invited to a special preview event in which they will receive free tickets to tour the exhibit, as well as an individual copy per student of the book. An additional set of copies of the book will be available for the public to check out as a walk-along guide when they come to tour the exhibit, which will extend all around the museum and its grounds. For more information on the exhibit, please check out:
After some training the past two years in mindfulness and centering and how to use some of the mindfulness strategies in the preschool classroom to regulate body energy, the teachers at the IMA decided to expand our practice to include yoga this year. The preschool class at the IMA has been doing yoga during Morning Meeting since the beginning of the school year. This week, we decided to practice our yoga up in the main atrium of the museum. We brought cushions, which our very first class of students three years ago sewed, as our yoga "mats." Although we have been practicing yoga in our classroom all year, it was a great experience to take advantage of the wide open spaces of the galleries. We even got to try some new poses that we can't do in the classroom because we don't have enough space!
Here at the IMA, we've been enjoying exploring the 100 Acres Art & Nature Park. We've explored some of the installations on site, as well as several of the trails leading through wooded areas and near the water. Along the way, we've been making a list of all the creatures we've encountered.
It's been a great start to the year here at the IMA! We've begun to explore our outdoor spaces, as well as adjusting to the rhythms and routines of our day.
We closed out this week by hosting what has become an annual event here at the IMA: Mud Day! Our children made tie-dye t-shirts to celebrate the occasion this year, and we all dressed ready for some puddle splashing, mud pie making, and mud digging fun! Thanks to Patty, our fearless gardener, for helping us out again this year.
Spring is in full bloom at the IMA! Our preschool classroom has been outside exploring the beautiful gardens every chance we get. We have been working on a project for the museum to help create murals on some of the trash cans that will be placed out around the museum grounds. We've been inspired by all the bright colored flowers, blooming trees and birds that we've seen in the gardens and have enjoyed creating our own murals for the trash cans!
Today we enjoyed a wonderful Family Day at the IMA! We invited our families to come join us for “Dragon Tacos” which were inspired by a favorite classroom book “Dragons Love Tacos”. We've enjoyed reading this book for a few weeks now, and we've even been on scavenger hunts throughout the museum looking for dragons hidden in the galleries. We've found lots of dragons hidden in the art and pottery located in the Asian Galleries!
In preparation for todays lunch, the children helped cook the chicken and cut the tomatos and lettuce. It was fun to make our own tacos and enjoy time with our families!
The Audubon exhibit is coming soon to the IMA! In connection with our study of birds, the children recently submitted three original pieces of art to the IMA-sponsored student art competition. We were inspired by an Osprey specimen that was lent to our classroom for observation. The children sketched the Osprey and then painted a backdrop for the birds. We are so proud of our submissions! We learned today that one of our submissions was chosen for 2nd place in the competition in our age group and it will be on display in the Audubon gallery alongside other student artwork and Audubon's original pieces!
Last week we took our first field trip of the school year to Eagle Creek Ornithology Center. While there, we got to see two different captive birds, a red-tailed hawk and a screech owl, as well as take a birding walk through the woods. We spent some time in the bird watching room using binoculars to observe the birds at the bird feeders. We had a great time and look forward to seeing how our new knowledge about birds will help further our project on Audubon and birds.
The IMA classroom has begun to study birds with greater intensity in preparation for the Audubon exhibit opening in April at the IMA. Today we took a walk into the woods out at the 100 Acres, carrying with us some bird identification books and binoculars. We observed 3 different kinds of birds enjoying the bird feeders near the visitor pavilion, and Ryanni had the great idea of standing with bird seed in hand to try and get the birds to come closer!