Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Art Explorers, Thursday, 11.3

The first day of a new session, a very enthusiastic young artist was thrilled to play with clay today. Observing the young artist, I was reminded of the studio thinking habits model, developed by Project Zero and adapted for Art at the Center children’s studio classes. The young artist is seen developing craft and engaging and persisting. She was enjoying pushing big balls of clay together and taking them apart again, carefully inspecting where they were stuck together and how easily they pulled apart depending on the amount of pressure she used to push them together. She is developing fine and gross motor skills and hand/eye coordination as well as learning about cause and effect when pushing the material together and pulling it apart. She broke off smaller pieces from one ball and squished them into the other. At one point a few bigger balls together with some much smaller pieces made a “pig”. Looking very proud of her achievement she exclaimed, “Wow! Look at that!” and began showing her grandmother as well as other adults working with clay around her. Her grandmother asked a few questions about the creation and offered her some more pieces encouraging her to continue creating. Her grandmother’s role as a supportive facilitator allows her to engage in the creative process and discover. She then began collecting as much clay as she could and lined the balls in a row in front of her. Poking sticks into the different balls of clay offered more for the young mind to marvel at. The young artist’s use of popsicle sticks opens several possibilities for different interactions with the clay. In her experimenting with clay, this young artist is developing important fine and gross motor skills as well as learning cause and effect. The use of tools allows for further experimentation with the clay. The experience of being in charge of creating something with the material, whether it be a pig or a lot of balls all lined up in a row, in a supportive environment allows for discovery as well as self-esteem building. Observing the young artist and loosely cataloging the creative process relative to the studio habits is helpful in understanding and promoting children’s development.

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