Fairy Dust Teaching offered this webinar as a bonus because I signed up for their Winter Conference. I was very excited when I received the email as the children in my class are very drawn to art and are incredibly creative. Supplying materials to encourage the development of creative representation that are also safe to make accessible to the younger infant students can be a challenge; I’m excited to tackle creating a better atelier space in my classroom.
After participating in this webinar I have spent some time reflecting on the idea that I must be intentional in how I set up the classroom and present both art materials and other materials. I must be aware of what the classroom is calling the children to do; what feelings of competency is my set up supporting? “Children thrive in indoor and outdoor spaces that invite them to investigate, imagine, think, create, solve problems, and make meaning from their experiences – especially when the spaces contain interesting and complex open-ended materials that children can use in many ways.” (How Does Learning Happen? Page 20)
“If you put things out of reach or behind curtains where they can’t touch, what does that tell a child?”
This question from the webinar was very powerful and spoke to me deeply. I think that for some educators it can be difficult to allow children to have access to that many art materials independently; however giving the children the opportunity to work with them demonstrates your trust and respect for the children in your care. I believe each of the children in my class are competent and capable individuals (How Does Learning Happen?, Page 6); I want to ensure that the materials in my class encourage the children’s explorations and express that I believe that they are skillful and curious.
While the little ones are off on winter break I’m hoping to tackle the “Atelier” area of our classroom to make it more inviting and beautiful. I want to include safe materials (as they may be mouthed by my younger students) such as fresh markers, natural collage materials and glue, paints, brushes, clay, and mats so that the children can define their work areas.