Creating a space for art in your early learning program will provide many opportunities for young children to learn new skills. In the Art Space, even the youngest child can learn to appreciate the beautiful designs, and colors that are found in art, Children will begin to develop new language that describes art, as well as explore new art processes, mediums, and tools.
The art space provides many opportunities for children to improve their motor, sensory, language, social emotional, and cognitive development skills as they learn to create.
How much space do you have?
When you are setting up a learning space in your home, you'll want to first determine how much space you are dedicating the area. Are you creating an intimate space for just 1-2 children to gather? Or a place for the whole group?
If you don't have a lot of space to dedicate to a separate art space, consider a portable option. A cart can be stocked with a variety of materials and rolled out of the room. A caddy of art materials can be placed on an existing table.
Provide children with a variety of safe art materials that are accessible to them on a daily basis. In addition to creating original works of art, children are learning how to use new art materials and learning new processes for creating art. Provide a variety of opportunities for painting, drawing, collage, and sculpture.
The art space at Mud Pies & Butterflies
If you are creating a dedicated art space, I recommend a shelf or storage unit to hold your materials. Use easy to access containers such as open containers, easy to open drawers, and baskets to store your items. When dealing with a mixed age group, provide materials that can be used independently, and store more advanced materials on a higher shelf if needed. Consider placing it near a hand washing area for ease of cleanup.
If you don't have a dedicated childcare space in your home, consider dedicating a cupboard, or a hutch to your hold your art supplies.
In addition to creating Art on Horizontal surfaces, provide opportunities for making artwork on vertical surfaces such as easels, and walls. Easels can be hung on walls, or you can invest in table top easels if you are short on space.
Provide a variety of materials for drawing, painting, and collage. Provide new opportunities for children to experiment with art supplies. Incorporate materials that allow younger children to create art independently such as buying larger handled paintbrushes, and crayons that are are easier for small hands to hold.
Create an art space outside
If your indoor space is limited, consider creating an outdoor art space! You can add an outdoor chalkboard, or attach some simple clips (to hold paper) to a fence.
See some more photos of outdoor art spaces here!
The outdoor art studio at Building Blocks Family Childcare
Create a space to display & celebrate art
Create a space to celebrate the children's art. You can use a bulletin board, hang the art using clothespins, create individual frames, use clipboards, or even use the side of your refrigerator to display their great creations!
How about an art show? Invite families and even your community to an annual art show! celebrate their works of art, and use the opportunity to educate adults about the educational process of creating art. Putting on a community art show is also a great opportunity to advertise your program.
Art exhibit by Pumpkin Patch Preschool-See more photos of this exhibit here.
Talk to children about their art
When it comes to creating learning spaces, many providers struggle with how they can accommodate a space for mixed ages. When it comes to an art space here are a few tips for creating a space for mixed ages:
1. Children in this space are learning how to use new tools. As with any new tool this will take modeling, re-direction and patience. You will need to model (while at the same time allowing children to explore) how to appropriately use these new tools. This means how much paint to use, discuss where in the room we use our tools, and how much glue to use.
2. You do not need to set out all of the items at once for free art. Choose a few items that are safest for even the youngest mobile children to explore independently and rotate the items often. Example: markers and paper, crayons and stencils, clay and cookie cutters, Stickers and Textured Paper etc.
3. Create a space for older children to explore items individually. Provide older children with their own space to explore more advanced materials. Find opportunities throughout the day (such as times when younger children are napping) were older children can explore new mediums. Whenever possible shadow the younger children, while allowing the older children to be more independent.
4. Safe doesn't mean clean. Art is going to be messy. There are many ways you can prepare so that you can limit the mess and keep it manageable for your group.
Creating a space for mixed ages
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