Design + Writer's Workshop!

Today in the studio, the children of room 1 at the Thompson building were presented with different provocations. First, the children created designs and patterns using natural materials. They then permanently recreated or traced their patterns onto tile using marking pen. During this exploration, we discussed different patterns such as smallest to largest and alternating colors as the children were eager to demonstrate what they were learning! They were also very curious as to how the magnifying glasses worked and even found some details in items that they wouldn’t have found otherwise…

After they had finished, some children made their way over to a bookmaking provocation. With this, we ended up having a powerful session of writer’s workshop. The children added great detail to their illustrations, with some showing wonderful development in literacy while working on the words in their stories. Our author/illustrators then read their stories in one on one sessions, where we discussed how they could develop their work even further!!!


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Imagination + Clay!

The children of Room 3 at the Thompson building are a very creative, imaginative bunch! They are frequently drawing and painting all sorts of amazing things. So today in the studio, we took their inventiveness in other directions. The children worked with clay in bringing their ideas to life, carefully using what they learned about the material in adding incredible detail to their work! In addition, some children decided to do some bookmaking, stretching their ideas and stories even further!!!

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'Atelier Band'

Room 5 at the Gilliate building has a young man who loves to display his natural rhythm. Cason is frequently using different tools to create sound patterns and always shows great interest any time he has the chance to play the drums. In the studio, he was encouraged to show a group of friends what he knew. Before we knew it, Cason was leading the rhythm section of our impromptu ‘Atelier Band’! While the artistic and creative implications of such an activity are obvious, so much more can be taken from like experiences. Can you pinpoint the concepts in math? How about science? What about the value to social-emotional development? When children are allowed to creatively explore their learning processes, they will present us with everything we need to know moving forward!!!

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What Do We See In A Car?

Room 6 at the Gilliate building is beginning to study cars! Today in the studio, they looked closely at toy models as we discussed the details in what they saw… and could recreate in observational drawings. Asking the children to really look closely at their subject made for some awesome discussion, and beautiful work to boot!!!

What should we draw first?

Jaire: Wheels!

Which DETAIL are you drawing?

Nadia: I’m drawing the line on the door.

Isabella: Look at mine. It’s an umbrella sticking out for the back.

Alexis: I’m drawing the back, too. This is the roof and this is the door and the wheel. I’m drawing a Lamborghini!

Jaire: This is a brake.

Jamarion: I draw the back and the front and I have to draw the windows.

Nadia: I drawed the back. See? I made the bumps on there.

Rousy: I draw like a wheel and then this part and the wheel again.

Ashlyn: I drawed those wheels like you. My dog in the car.

Kaylee: I started with the wheels because I knew that was the perfect place to start. Then, I did the lines. I put the lines so it looked like the car. Then, I made the dots. And then, I did the windows and I picked my color.

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Josie's Boat

“It’s my mommy, my brother, my brother, and me on a boat. We’re going to the river to see the fishes. Then, we’re going to the zoo. Then… we’re gonna go back home to play with daddy.” - Joselyn, Gilliate Room 3

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No Brushes Needed!

Last week, children had the opportunity to paint in some inventive ways. At the Gilliate building, bottles filled with acrylic paint were hung from the ceiling so that the children could swing and squeeze them as the bottles dropped paint onto our canvases. Of course, we had plenty of paint on the floor as we worked… and the children had a blast exploring by walking through it with their bare feet!!!

At the Thompson building, children used the ‘tall painting’ method. A tree stump was placed on the ground and surrounded by blank canvases. The children proceeded to poor paint onto the log and watched the colors create a marble like appearance as they ran onto each canvas. Watching the children discuss and coordinate their movements, so as not to interfere with each other’s work, was amazing. Their ever growing social-emotional skills become more and more prevalent with each given day at St. Mary’s Child Center!!!


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Clay Sculpting!

Today, the children in Gilliatte Room 6 had the chance to learn and develop skills in clay sculpting. We discussed the feel of the clay, the consistency of when it is wet vs. when it is not, and how to slip and score when combining different sections of a sculpture. The children were given complete freedom to experiment and create whatever they liked… and the results did not disappoint! We ended up with a daisy and daisy seeds, a butterfly, a family of snowmen, a hoard of zombies, and more!!!

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A Week of Painting!

What do you envision when you think about painting? Many would say they imagine an artist creating fine details using masterful brush strokes. This is because the predominant and most classic painting tool is of course the brush. For young children, working with a paintbrush holds much value. They gain valuable fine-motor skills, learn their preferred brush strokes and techniques, and learn relationships between colors that are only possible when they are blended by hand and tool. However, children almost become TOO accustomed to this one method. While color mixing and detail is important, children are initially more sensory oriented. This often makes for an “over-blending” of color that will almost always end up as a shade of brown… So, this week, different classrooms worked with different tools and techniques in creating their masterpieces! Children used pipettes, bottles, straws, spoons, cups, and other tools to drop, splatter, or carefully pour the paint onto their canvases. With this, they were challenged to never let their chosen tools physically touch the canvas. While this will always create more abstract types of work, it makes for beautiful and vibrant pieces that introduce brand-new concepts in color to color relationships (and ideas for our developing young artists). See for yourself how the colors spread and almost seem to ‘melt’ together while still keeping semblance of their individual pigmentation!!!

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Recycled Cardboard & Sticky Gum Tape!

Today, children from our Gilliate building explored the studio. Here, they were invited to create designs for a printmaking block using cardboard and ‘sticky gum tape’. This was process work in which the children were responsible for creating their own shapes and designs, cutting them from scrap cardboard, and wetting this special tape in order to adhere each piece to their printing ‘block’.

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Alternative Self-Portraits!

At this age, children are becoming increasingly more self-aware through a variety of early interactions. Drawing, self-portraiture in particular, is a ‘universal’ way of helping children develop some of these understandings. We often invite children to observe themselves in a mirror while drawing their initial and subsequent portraits. While this is the most authentic way for children to investigate their characteristics, it is not without its challenges. It is a lot to ask of any 3, 4, or 5 year old to stop drawing every few seconds and go back to observe in the mirror. While this particular challenge has value toward development, it leaves room to lead into or build upon other intended concepts. In this case, a classroom focused on symmetry and detail while working in another form of self-portraiture. With this, copies of the children’s identity portraits were cut in half and taped to sheets of drawing paper. The children then worked toward mirroring their half-image with much concentration…

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