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Early Childhood Center-School Year 2016-2017

"Play is the highest expression of human development."
Welcome to The One School At Temple Beth Am, Celebrating the Whole Child. We understand and respect that every child is essentially, ‘the one.’ Every child is unique. The specifics of how we nurture and grow each child are dependent entirely upon the needs of the child. This is how we celebrate each child - by engaging him or her at his or her point of need. The One School partners with every parent to ensure every child is championed and educated as an individual.

The One School is a NAEYC Accredited, Reggio Emilia Nature-inspired school, serving ages 18 months to five years. The One School offers certified teachers, a low student/teacher ratio, an emergent creative curriculum and specialty areas of study including science, art, music, foreign language and nature study. The One School’s curricula are supplemented by young family programs and parenting workshops, an infant and toddler program, Family Center, Summer Camp, after school enrichment classes and an active and instrumental Parent Teacher Organization. A commitment to contribute to the community and the world at large is also a part of the school’s social justice philosophy.






Thursday, August 25, 2016

Building Creative Expression Through Art


 

In 1920, Piaget said, "Young children actively construct their knowledge by interacting with the world around them."

 
What Piaget meant is that young children need to touch, see, explore, and manipulate objects to develop and learn new ideas.  Young children should have daily opportunities for creative expression.

 Creative, open-ended art taps into three key developmental areas for young children.  First, it allows an emotional outlet, encouraging children’s active expression. Secondly, it builds the executive functions which relate to planning, monitoring, focusing, as well as solving problems. And third, open-ended art strengthens fine -motor skills. 

 But most importantly, children enjoy making art; open-ended art allows them to be happier with the process.  Children are less stressed in an open, nurturing setting and the process of art--as well as the final product--benefits greatly from this relaxation.

With that in mind, where do we start when providing children with open-ended art projects?  (All these experiences can be offered in a school setting, but they're also possible at home.) Where exactly do we begin?

Open-ended, free expression can be fostered with easel painting, watercolors, clay projects, finger painting, beads, cloth-weaving, and much, much more. The medium is secondary to the idea that art must be "process-oriented." This fancy term is actually quite simple. It means the act of creation--the how and why a child makes something--is just as, if not more, important than the final product.


As adults we are very concerned with products: the all-consuming end result. But in their innocence and pure curiousity, children are not so caught up in the endgame. They simply take pleasure in making things. Each and every experience is beautiful to them. As Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
 
So, what are the characteristics of process-oriented art? For one, there are no step-by-step instructions. The art is spontaneous and natural, rather than copied, prescribed or otherwise deemed "right" or "wrong." Process-oriented art is totally unique to the child, and is based around the exploration of the techniques, tools and materials used to the make the art itself. In addition to being entirely born of the child's imagination, the art must also be relaxing or soothing for the child. Process-oriented art should not be stressful, by definition.

One of the most important skills that parents and teacher can learn is not to judge children’s art. Instead, ask them what they made and compliment the colors not the lines, such as, “You mixed two colors together and made a new color!” Comment on the child’s process not the product.  Children’s art is one way they experience the world through feelings and imagery. This art creates a sense of wonder and curiosity.

Let’s honor children’s art by allowing them the opportunity and material to make their own creations.