One of the main principles of the Reggio Emilia Philosophy is that children are natural communicators. A great example of this is “The Hundred Languages Of Children” written by Loris Malaguzzi.
Following this concept, at Stonebrook we believe that it is our job to provide children with as many opportunities and ways to express themselves and communicate as possible.
Recently we decided to incorporate the Atelier into our daily experiences.
Children are given the opportunity to enter the Atelier and create through all sorts of mediums, but by far, the children have been most interested in working with clay.
We wanted to make sure the children were given the opportunity to experience it in their own way, so very little direction was given. We were not looking for an outcome; we simply wanted to experience this new material with them. At first, they were hesitant. It felt different in their hands, and they didn’t quite know what to do with the clay. Soon they were squishing, squeezing, pulling, pushing and molding the clay. It was interesting to observe how quiet they were when first given the clay. All their focus was set on this gray material placed in front of them. As they opened to the material so did their conversations with each other. “What could they make with this?”
As I watched and listened to the children talk to each other about what they were creating, I was amazed that they were so willing to help each other and collaborate with their ideas on how to make their creations come to life. It was delightful to see and hear.
The addition of the Atelier has been such a joy at Stonebrook and has provided so much more than art! Children who are nervous or anxious about their first day are quickly at ease when they enter this magical space. Group collaboration and individual time for reflection both find their place in this space, but most importantly the children’s voices can be heard through their art.