Archive for the ‘Our Approach’ Category
Saturday, April 20th, 2013
Rounding out my series of posts celebrating The Week of the Young Child™ and Brain Building in Progress Week…
The BBIP campaign wants everyone to know that “A knowledgeable community and well-qualified education workforce give children the support they need to succeed in school and life.”
Though nothing can replace the knowledge I’ve gained through hands-on experiences with amazing students, mentors, and colleagues, there are a few resources connected with the approaches and philosophies that shape my approach to teaching and parenting. Here are a few of my favorites that hope might inspire you too:
First, a few books I reference multiple times a year:
The Hundred Languages of Children Edited by Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini, and George Forman.
Children, Art, Artists: The Expressive Languages of Children, the Artistic Language of Alberto Burri, Edited by By Vea Vecchi and Claudia Giudici.
It’s Not a Bird Yet by Ursula Kolbe
A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink
These are the books I’ll be looking at next. Have you read any of them?
Being a visual learning in the digital age means I’m quick to turn to the internet for inspiration. There are so many great sites and blogs I could make a long list, but I’ll just share 3 for now:
Visual Thinking Strategies
Not Just Cute
We do alot of work at The Carle is in support of teachers, parents and caretakers to foster a love of learning that flows between home, school and community. I hope you’ll continue to see us as a resource for informing and inspiring the ways you live with or teach young children!
What are the resources that inspire and inform you?
Monday, April 8th, 2013
In my last post, I shared that The Carle is celebrating The Week of the Young Child™ and Brain Building in Progress Week with a series of posts on this blog and hosting a special Brain Building in Progress Storytime in our Reading Library on Friday, April 19, at 10:30 am.
The Brain Building in Progress (BBIP) website clearly spells out how everyone has a stake and plays a role in building a “foundation for a lifetime of learning” in our young citizens. Its list of the Five Ways You Can Be a Brain Builder has inspired me to share few ways you might nurture brain building in the children in your life:
BBIP suggests: “Make Any Moment a Brain Building Moment… through back-and-forth interactions and meaningful conversations with caring adults.” So what could those interactions and conversations look like?
- Share a book with your young child. Picture books open up a space in which you can explore emotions, ideas and theories. Don’t be afraid linger on particular pages and talk about the pictures. Let the questions flow! Need some book suggestions? Our shop has talked about some great selections for 0-3 years and 3-6 years.
- Explore the textures, shapes and colors of materials and objects you encounter together. To open a conversation, you might ask your child: “What do you notice about this paper/rock/flower/fabric/marker?” Even if they don’t yet speak back to you, they are wondering and thinking with their senses.
- While young children are working with materials, you can invite conversation by saying: “Tell me about your idea.” Need some suggestions for materials or activities to try with your child? Check out our Infants & Toddlers, Nurturing Creativity at Home and Preschool posts, to start.
Talk about the art you encounter together, whether in a museum or on the street. Art is everywhere and offers great opportunity for meaning-making. When you see a painting, collage, mural or sculpture in your community, you might ask: “What’s happening in this picture?” Learn more about open-ended conversations about art at vtshome.org
*The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.
The 2013 Week of the Young Child™ is April 14–20, and the theme across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is “Brain Building in Progress.”
Friday, April 5th, 2013
The Carle, committed to inspiring a love of art and reading through picture books, hopes you will celebrate The Week of the Young Child™ and Brain Building in Progress Week with us!
The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.
The 2013 Week of the Young Child™ is April 14–20, and the theme across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is “Brain Building in Progress.”
The Brain Building in Progress (BBIP) campaign is a public/private partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and a growing community of early education and child care providers, academic researchers, business leaders and individuals.
Brain Building in Progress wants to make it known that “early experiences build the foundation for a lifetime of learning, achievement and productive, responsible citizenship. Quality environments, enriching learning opportunities, a connected, supportive community, and positive interactions with knowledgeable adults actually help form the architecture of the developing brain.”
Here are a few ways you can celebrate with us:
- Visit The Carle next Friday April 19th with your young children for a celebratory Brain Building Storytime in the Reading Library at 10:30 am. Before or after storytime, come to the Studio to explore our materials and then have a conversation about the art in the Galleries or try our Gallery Search.
- If you’re an educator or grandparent, visit The Carle by yourself to discover new ways to foster brain building skills in the young children in your life, or register for one of our upcoming Professional Development Programs.
- Whether you can or can’t visit The Carle in next week, check back here in the coming week as we celebrate WOYC and BBIP! I’ll be sharing ideas for nurturing brain building in your home or classroom and some of the resources we use to inspire our work in the Studio.
Thursday, March 14th, 2013
As The Carle’s Public Art Program Educator, I have the unique challenge designing the drop-in art activities for The Studio’s ongoing Public Art Program that change every 4-6 weeks. If you follow our blog regularly you’re familiar with the variety of projects we offer: bookmaking, painting, sculpture, collage, drawing and printing to name a few! Whether our guests are novice art makers or seasoned veterans, anyone can try their hand at our current activity and use the materials at their level of expertise. One of the often overlooked details of designing each art project is figuring out the best way to organize the art materials guests will use at the tables in various sized baskets.
For one of our recent Public Art Projects, Mapping Makeover, I made some fun new labels to organize the drawing tools into warm, cool and neutral colors. To help our young guests learn the different color families, the paper liners are in bright colored paper by Canson. On each label I added small dots matching the drawing tools’ hues and familiar images from Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar in warm, cool or neutral colors. We use Avery templates in Microsoft Word to make all of our labels, very quick and easy! We use brass fasteners to attach the cardstock labels to the 3 different sizes of baskets in our collection.
The photos below are the basic steps for adding a label to a basket without tape. 1. Stick the label to a precut piece of cardstock that fits snugly on one side of the basket. 2. Use a bookmakers awl or another sharp tool to make a hole where you want your brass fastener to go. 3. Secure the fasteners to the back of the basket and add the materials. When the labels are not in use I store like-labels rubber-banded together in drawers by category, then they’re easy to find the next time we need them.
Sometimes we organize the paper in specific ways, like by the shape of the papers.
Other times the labels are more general, like “drawing tools” and “collage papers” so we can reuse the same labels for different projects.
We also design signage for specific projects to help guests take their projects further like, “How to make an accordion book”.
How do you organize the art supplies in your classroom or at home for children?
Don’t forget to enter The Carle’s Call for Caterpillars Contest for the chance to win an original doodle by Eric Carle! Visit www.carlemusuem.org/call_for_caterpillars for contest details.
Saturday, January 5th, 2013
This one year old and her mother from New York spent a while in a sun-bathed corner of the Studio yesterday afternoon. In no hurry, they permitted me to enter their moment with my camera.
Today, as I reviewed the images, these words from Loris Malaguzzi came to mind:
One has to respect the time of maturation; of development; of the tools of doing and understanding; of the full, slow, extravagant, lucid and ever-changing emergence of children’s capacities, it is the measure of cultural and biological wisdom. Loris Malaguzzi, 1998, p80, The Hundred Languages of Children Advanced Reflections.
What better time than in the clean slate of the new year to share a few slow moments with your child? Read a book together. Make a drawing. Study the snow or palm trees or whatever surrounds you. If you can, come and see us in the Studio. We’d love to help you slow down.
Friday, October 26th, 2012
The other week after observing a tentative toddler at the light table in the Studio I wondered if I had ever really looked at this room from the perspective of a toddler- 25 inches off the ground. I’ve gotten on the floor probably hundreds of times in the past 10 years here, but had I ever really experienced all the corners of our space as a toddler might?
Having my own 18 month old at home has uncovered new questions in my work. Maybe I’ve said this before? No longer do I see what I do from strictly an educator’s perspective- I now see it work through tired, freshman-parent eyes. These eyes are now learning just how real it is to parent a willful, exploratory, energetic toddler. In the hope to tie new connections between work and home I grabbed the camera and got on the studio floor.
From my observations over the years I know that while pleasant and vibrant, our space is large and therefore overwhelming for some small people.
My time on the floor offered me more questions than answers . Is our entry welcoming for toddlers? Do we provide the right visual engagement at their level? Is our furniture conducive to toddler and toddler/parent participation? Do parents of toddlers feel at ease here? Does how I focus the camera match how a toddler sees our space?
As I explore these questions with Diana and our volunteers, I want to hear from you. Have you seen your space – be it your home or classroom, from a young child’s perspective? Did it lead you to make any changes? If so, what was the reaction?
Saturday, August 11th, 2012
As we wrap up a fun month of tissue paper collage in the studio, I’m reminded of an experience I had with J and B (brothers), couple of young guests, when we did tissue collages last November.
The materials on the tables were: colored tissue papers, oil pastels, liquid starch, glue brushes, and scissors. Each guest also received two different size pieces of watercolor paper. Maybe you remember my post On Limitations explaining why we offer only certain materials or limit quantities for a given project?
I think it was B who first requested some tape. I asked him, “what is it you’re trying to do?” Whenever someone in the studio asks for a material that’s not being offered this is my reply. I’ve found that it’s a great way to find out whether they need my help in solving a problem or if they need a material for another purpose, like a temporary eyeglasses fix.
As we looked at his work, B explained that he wanted to put his tissue paper collage of a baby bird breaking through its shell on top of a larger piece of paper that he filled in with oil pastel.
I could easily have provided tape, but instead asked B, “Do you think there is anything here on the table you can use to connect your pictures?” Sometimes, just getting a child to re-notice what’s in front of him sparks the idea he needs to continue.
Sometimes he needs more questioning to help him see potential solutions. We talked about why tape works to connect things (it’s sticky) and I asked him if any of the materials on the table were sticky. We talked about how the liquid starch glue is sticky, but also thin, so maybe not strong enough to hold two thick papers together on its own. I also pointed out that tape is basically just sticky paper.
Now, I can’t remember if he figured it out on his own, or I wondered aloud, “could we use the tissue paper and starch to make our own tape?,” but it was something B was willing to try. He was excited to have worked out an aesthetically pleasing solution for his picture.
Later, when his brother J wanted to try it too, I asked B to explain to his brother how to use tissue paper like tape. Whenever possible, I try to get children to help each other problem solve. There’s another level of learning added to an art-making experience when the creator verbally shares the process or idea.
Sometimes, children come up with artistic solutions and test them only to discover they don’t work. Those are great moments of learning too! In those moments its important that I’m there to make non-judgmental observations encourage them to risk another solution. In those moments I learn too. That’s what making art with children is all about!
Monday, August 6th, 2012
We’re busy making Tissue Paper Collages in the Art Studio again! This is probably the most popular project we do all year. Below are a couple fun facts about the materials we use during a typical Summer Public Art Project.
· Museum guests create over 3,000 tissue paper collages in the Art Studio during the 6-week program.
· We go through nearly 9 gallons of liquid starch glue for making collages (the average collage requires less than 1-ounce to stick together!).
· If we lined all of the collages up side by side, they would stretch for 2/3 of a mile!
For more information about making a tissue paper collage at home or in the classroom, visit our Activities web page and click on “Tissue Paper Collage,” “Watercolor Tissue Papers” or “Homemade Liquid Starch Glue.”
Here are a few of our blog posts about tissue paper collaging:
Intergenerational Collage Activity
Watercolor Paper 101
Watercolor Wash Collage Papers
This project ends on August 13th, so be sure to stop by before then to make your own!
Friday, August 3rd, 2012
On July 14-16, The Carle, in collaboration with Smith College, hosted an institute for educators. Learning through the Arts and Literature: A Collaboration Celebrating Innovation and Inspiration in International Education featured presenters from Pistoia, Italy, the University of Florence, and local educators.
On the third day of the institute, attendees heard from Lella Gandini and Cathy Topal about materials as provocation and inspiration. Reflecting on the roles of teachers and children as researchers, their presentation shared images of children exploring paper napkins from the book Children, Art, and Artists (Reggio Children) and words from Vea Vecchi. Setting the tone for the 3 concurrent studio sessions (paper was the theme) directly following, Kathy said this about exploring materials:
“Its not about making something, but about how it looks here, how it looks there. (Working with materials is about) the pleasure of moving things around.” With that we all split off into various spaces of the Museum.
Cathy Topal facilitated a session around exploring the possibilities of white copy paper then engineering it into a bridge spanning 18″.
Colleagues from Pistoia invited their session attendees to fashion imaginative garments and accessories from many different kinds of paper.
and I facilitated an exploration called Thread & Paper. Check back tomorrow to see what happened in my session!
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Last month our Curator of Education, Rosemary, and I, taught a weekend of professional development workshops in Pennsylvania at a weekend hosted by the Highlights Foundation. Usually the hosts of workshops for children’s writers and illustrators, Learning Through Picture Book Art: A Workshop for Teachers, was the Foundation’s first weekend for educators, so we were honored to be in the collaboration.
The weekend was held at The Barn, the Foundation’s meeting facility and guest cabins in Boyds Mills, PA. Teachers, guest presenters, and instructors alike were treated to warm hospitality, comfy accommodations in a beautiful setting, and delicious food for our stomachs and our minds.
Rosemary lead two workshops – The Visual Thinking Strategies and The Whole Book Approach.
I followed up with Making Art with Young Children and Bookmaking and Beyond.
Guest speakers included Children’s Book Librarian Anita Ditz, Author Illustrator Pat Cummings, and Author/Illustrator/Educator Neil Waldman.
A lot was covered in just two days and two nights, but one thing we didn’t get to do was discuss some of the reflections I asked the teachers to make on their work with their students, so stay tuned for that discussion to take place here in future posts. Also stay tuned to find out when the next teachers’ workshop at The Barn will be!