Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

An Atelier in Kindergarten

On Monday the children returned to school from winter break. While we usually go offsite on Mondays we had a new student beginning and I wanted him to enjoy his first day in our classroom, getting comfortable with school and us. 

I could tell that he was most excited about the Atelier as he kept walking over and watching the children set up their art activities. We have been developing the classroom Atelier all year and I have designed it uniquely for this group of children. 

Our Atelier currently it takes up about 20% of our space. The children have already had plenty of opportunities to explore different materials and techniques and we always seem to have two tables taken over with art as well as our paint easel during morning and afternoon exploration times. Art is fully integrated into my program and the children may choose art to express their ideas and learning in different curricular areas like math, science, social students and language arts - included Story Play.

Gradually during Sept to Dec I continuously add materials to the shelves  including a variety of paints and paint accessories including poster paint, watercolour paint, watercolour pencils, paint sticks and paint pens. As the children are introduced to other art materials they also are added to the shelves. This year I have added  clay, stamps as well as writing tools like gel crayons, beeswax crayons, soy crayons and sharpies. Taking our time helps the children explore the materials and get used to independent set up and clean up. By November they are using the atelier independently and I am able to introduce a few more materials like collage, chalk, pastel pens and texture materials usually from nature.

Over winter break I shopped the sales using a little money leftover from our school supplies. Our new purchases include a second bigger set of paint markers, gel crayons, oil pastel crayons and chunky chalk. I also picked up another box of Faber Castell pencil crayons for our wonder wagon which we use in our Nature Journals and another roll of twine for outdoor art projects.

As I watched his peers introduce the materials I was really proud of their skill and how they handle  the materials. I was also  pleased that I invested time and materials to create the Atelier. Our new guy was hesitant and eventually chose familiar art materials, crayons and paper but joyfully sat alongside his new friends to listen and draw. I am reminded of how powerful it is for children to have time, choice, and access to beautiful, well organized art materials and how much it contributes to their state of mind. It was so wonderful to watch the children include him in their conversations as the art tables are always big conversation opportunities.

I am beyond excited that our learning team has chosen process art as a focus for the next two years and am looking forward to see what we will learn and change in our programs.


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