Last April, the whole team was able to attend the Professional Study Days at Hilltop Children’s
Center in Seattle. What inspired us the most was the art space which they called their
“Community Studio”. Art materials were made easily accessible to the children, and many of
the children’s art work was displayed with care and respect. Therefore, our team came up with
the idea of creating an “art studio” in our own classroom.
Where to start?
The first meeting for this project was held on Nov.29th 2018. We sat down and discussed the
benefits of having an art studio for our children. We all agreed to the opinions which Art is a
tool of communication; Art has no barriers. This studio accepts children in difference and
humans are all unique. In the end, we set the goal of making a place for them to realize who
they are and for them to bond and collaborate with others. The next day, we discussed the plan
with our children.
What were the challenges we faced?
Our first challenge was deciding where the art studio should be in the room and how much
space to use for it. To have an art studio, we needed to change our whole set up, including the
lunch tables, reading corner, sandbox and loft play house. Before making these massive
changes, two of our team members went to Brentwood Preschool and Frog Hollow Satellite
Daycare to observe the art studio that they have. They gave us advice and encouragement.
After some deep considerations and many discussions, we finally started to move some
furniture around. However, this change made some children feel frustrated and insecure.
Therefore, we decided to change our room very slowly. We discussed the change with the
children at circle time every time we made a new change.
What did we learn through this journey?
This project required a lot of collaboration with both our staff members and our children.
During this journey, we reflected on our philosophy and values constantly. It allowed us to
rethink our teaching and learning process. We were so used to setting up art or to planning
activities for children, that some of us got lost and didn’t know what to do in the creative space.
It took time for both children and teachers to get used to the new environment. The children
were confused at the first; however, they gradually got used to the studio and started to
explore more. They comfortably created their own art work after a couple of months. We
started to notice some details of how the children were communicating their thoughts as they
drew, painted, and use their bodies. Our art studio has become a place where children can
represent their ideas with multiple materials. Now, every day is a journey.