An open-studio-setting in a kindergarten – day 1
I was asked to assist a kindergarten on its path to including art as a larger part of the children’s daily schedule.
Next to the main large room, there is an airy, well-lit space with a view of trees, leading to a kitchen with a children size sink. It is a perfect space for a studio.
The children were waiting for it, and in the morning, the first ones arrived at 7.30. As one of the fathers was still arranging the large workbench, they were told that the studio is open!
– You are welcome to choose papers from the new studio drawers. Please check the drawers as each one has a different kind of paper. You can choose anything you like and sit around the studio table and work.
I hung their work immediately on the wall with a short text aimed at guests and parents.
As I hang their work, I say loudly something phenomenological about the uniqueness of each:
I see you drew a rainbow today.
Do you like to draw on paper strips?
I see you chose black paper and worked with a white chalk.
This is also mediation for the kindergarten teachers of how to comment and acknowledge the children’s work without saying, “beautiful!”, which actually means that the others were not, and as a whole it in not a nourishing comment. Saying “beautiful” means, I did not really observe this one-of-a-kind paper. I did not make an effort to truly observe what the child has done.
If I am truly seen, I perceive it as being loved.
That first morning many took a second and a third paper. They all wanted me to hang their papers. Soon enough the entire wall was covered. No one said it is ugly. No one wanted to throw their work into the bin.
Our aims for the studio in the kindergarten are:
- Permission and trust in the child’s natural abilities to create their personal and universal archetypes from within.
- Reclaiming the natural child drawings and scribbles.
- Understanding the studio setting from the point of view of the responsibility to clear one’s workspace as part of the process.
- Social interaction, friendships and learning together.
How is this done?
- Simple, modest and repeated presentation of materials. Repeated questions such as what else can you do with this? Can you find another way to do it?
- Only good materials.
- If there were a need to say something, it would be from a phenomenological point of view, as it will encourage more explorations and assist in dealing with frustration.
- Kindergarten teachers document the most common actions for each child. They get to know them better.