An art group! I first read about this fantastic idea on the Dilly Dali blog while I was researching music and movement groups/classes. I felt so inspired to get Greysen involved in something similar, I shared my excitement with a fellow mom who was just as eager. The result . . . a toddlers’ art group!
My hope was to offer children opportunities to use art mediums in their own way without a specific outcome or product. Art, in the very early years, is very often a sensory experience. The National Training Institutes Zero to Three best describes children’s drawing experiences at this age.
This is the period when young children are just figuring out that their movements result in the lines and scribbles they see on the page. These scribbles are usually the result of large movements from the shoulder, with the crayon or marker held in the child’s fist. There is joy in creating art at all ages, but at this stage especially, many children relish the feedback they are getting from their senses: the way the crayon feels, the smell of the paint, the squishy-ness of the clay.
My goal was for the children to have fun expressing themselves and let their ideas take charge! In other words, no demonstration drawing or 20 questions regarding their art. Questions such as, “What’s that? What did you make? What did you draw?” reflect an expectation of producing some type of final product and may not be at all in sync with the child’s art experience.
As is the status quo in Reggio Emilia and Reggio Emilia-inspired classrooms, the children painted alongside one another. Ownership over art work is fairly uncommon at this age. Children paint collaboratively, only later learning possessiveness over their painted space. So, the children painted on one large piece of paper, which was not saved. After all, it was all for the experience.
These art activities were planned primarily for one to three year-olds. As such, I wanted to be sure that there was at least one art material safe enough to be used by the infants without adult intervention. I found a wonderful homemade finger painting recipe on the Imagination Tree blog.
What a way to nurture curiosity!
It’s also a good idea to have brushes or other painting tools available just in case a child or two are uncomfortable with the sensory experience. By having a brush handy, everyone can participate comfortably.