Friday, April 17, 2015

A Week of Collage with Emmanuel Preschool

I spent a week in March at Emmanuel Preschool working with teachers and students to explore collage.
This was a great follow-up to the hands-on training workshops I did with the Emmanuel staff in the fall.  Fall workshops gave me a chance to get to know the staff as makers, to appreciate their willingness to jump in and get hands messy trying something new and to be part of planning ways to bring a more process and practice based approach to art back to their students.  

One part of this planning include my week as an artist in residence.  Over three days, I got to work with all the students and teachers in the school in small groups in the studio.  I was amazed and delighted by the calm and openness of the teachers, the smoothness of transitions and the richness of conversations that occurred around observing the children and their creations.  

The first day, three year olds worked in an exploratory and energetic way.  They experimented  with placement of objects, layering and glue.  Some moved toward patterns and representational images.

The following day progressed to longer sessions and more involved work with the four and five year olds.   These makers shared strategies and stories, with many working to create representational images, stories, patterns or built 3D environments.

Moving from work with four and five year olds to studio time with two year olds was a good reminder of the vast difference in development in preschool ages.  The youngest makers were half the age of their older peers; they approached the studio experience and me more cautiously.   This group particularly enjoyed painting with the glue.

Exploring ways the glue will drip off the brush.
Lots of glue!
Exploring sticking different shapes and textures to the glue - fabric, button and paper.

I also gained a new appreciation for how challenging it can be to stay the course in following what is developmentally best for very young children.  We do not feel disappointed that a two year old does not ride a two wheeler.  It seems the very definition of two-year-old-ness to ride around on a push toy.  In the same way, a two year old collage that consists of mostly painting glue is an indication that a two year old is just where they need to be developmentally.  Painting glue and feeling it's stickiness on their hands is what will allow them to form patterns and images later just like getting a sense of balance and motion on a push toy will allow them to be ready when it is time for a two-wheeler.

No comments:

Post a Comment