Studio Talk

Posted October 12, 2021

Studio Talk

By Amanda Janquart

“A tent is burning. A tree crashed on it. I’m drawing the human right now.”

Coming to the Art Studio is entering a world of possibilities. Working in small groups of three or four, children express themselves freely and form connections rather quickly.

Some narrate their thinking as they work, not caring who is listening. “I’m going to draw a puppy dog. There’s its tail; there’s its eye. The tail is connected to it.”

Others clamor to be recognized, inviting comments. “I’m going to make a fish. Look, I’m doing it! Oh, it’s a bird. I cannot do a fish, but do you think I can do some teeth? Look!”

Some share opinions bluntly. “That doesn’t look like a heart to me.”

But they all observe, listen, initiate, and imitate. It is learning at its finest.

Toddlers and preschoolers pause often, taking the time to see what their friends are doing. This often leads to alterations in their own work. They turn to their classmates for inspiration and validation. “It’s a cliff with a fox that’s hunting for another fox,” explained a child. A few minutes later, another child in the group responded, “I drawed a fox in the box! A frog in a box. It’s really funny.”

Through conversations and commentary, shared interests often blossom and themes take hold. It is magic when community and a sense of belonging develop through art. This fall, the children in one class have been attracted to all things spooky, and the chatter as they drew was nonstop. “I’m drawing a haunted house. It’s scary. The people are crying.” “I ‘goed’ into a haunted house before. I was crying.” “I’m going to make something scary, too.” “I’m making a pitch black window.” “Is this spooky looking yet?”

It feels amazing to be seen and heard by one’s peers, an instant confidence boost that keeps the excitement going. While part of what the children learn in the art studio includes concepts like color theory and skills like how to hold a pencil correctly, the experiences extend well beyond that. They make countless connections as they work side by side, sharing their ideas.

September – Back to school!

Posted August 25, 2014

For most children, the first day of school is often equal parts anxiety and excitement, while adults want total excitement without the anxiety.  But how can it be?

Without a doubt, there will be great excitement!  This is a day that has been talked about for weeks, even months.  The school is full of different toys, exciting outdoor spaces, and eager faces.  The possibilities to make new friends is endless.  But with new experiences also comes uncertainty.

Imagine being three or four (or five, as we witnessed our graduates contemplating the wide world of kindergarten) and being dropped off at a place we have only visited once or twice in the long-ago spring or summer.  The people who love us best wave goodbye as they head off to work, or worse – home with a younger sibling and not us!  At the same time, parents are feeling their own anxiety as goodbyes are being said.  Without a doubt, there will be some anxiety.

In truth, every parent and every child is different.  Some parents need reassurance for some time, from teachers and from their own child.  While some children might leap right in, even approaching a likely playmate with, “Hi, wanna play with me?” others prefer to paint at the corner easel for the first half hour while they get their bearings.

At All Seasons, as with any good early childhood setting, we greet each child at the door.  Each child has his/her own temperament, own family, own identity and own culture.  For the hours of school, we come together to form a cooperative community, but we try never to lose sight of each child’s particular gifts and needs.

Upstairs, we have the perfect helpers in this area – the grandmas and grandpas of Inver Glen.  Their delight and patience with the children help us all to remember the words of that wise and gentle teacher, Mr. Rogers– “I like you just the way you are.”

Art Camp 2014 – Birds!!!

Posted August 7, 2014

Birds were the focus of this year’s two week art camp.  From the variety of bird books and field guides in the classroom, each child chose a special bird to study and draw.  Both in the studio and in the classroom, children set to work, using markers, crayons, oil pastels, colored pencils and watercolors to represent their birds.  As the drawings and paintings accumulated, the children were able to observe their birds more closely, and notice details they had missed in their earlier attempts.

During the two weeks, we also read bird books every day, with a special focus on the first great bird artist, John James Audubon.  We learned about his love of the outdoors and his ability to watch birds closely and quietly, so he could learn their habits.  He also had a BIG QUESTION:  Where do birds go in the fall and do they ever come back to the same nest?  The children know the answer and how Audubon discovered it – just ask them!

The final week of camp was busy with creating life-sized studies of the children’s birds, and building nests to fill with the appropriate eggs.  Our classroom nest specimens were examined to see what materials would be needed.  After the raw materials were collected and the nests constructed – using clay for the mud- the children researched their bird’s particular egg to see how to paint them just the right colors.

The culminating event was an art show and reception, with lovely invitations created by the children and delivered to their families and the seniors of Inver Glen Senior Living.  The children, dressed in their finest, stood proudly by their artwork to welcome the art patrons and answer questions. Their efforts were enthusiastically celebrated, and we are very grateful for the school community’s support of these young artists!