Inspiration for Art – A Playful Learning Space

I’ve been participating in an e-course called The Art Of Teaching.  It’s a companion course to Playful Learning Spaces, which I took several years ago for the first time.We are only in week 1 of The Art of Teaching, but it has made me think of the inspiration I took away from Playful Learning Spaces.  It was a wonderful e-course, which really inspired me bring the playful learning we do at home up to the next level.  During one of the weeks, we turned our attention to the art areas of our homes (and classroom in my case).  We have always had art materials at our house, but not REAL artist-quality materials.  I can’t even begin to tell you the inspiration that came flooding to our kitchen table, once we had some high quality materials to work with.

That’s not where the story ends, though.  Through working with Mariah, I began learning about Reggio Emilia.  A teacher I work with also presented recently about the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education.  I was fascinated by the idea of creating a common area for art in my school.  In Reggio Emilia, Italy, each school has an art atelier, which houses high quality art supplies for kids to use.  The art area I was inspired to create in my former school, just outside of my classroom, was created with help from several teachers in our building.  It was a wonderful destination for the kids in our school.  Some kids come to add art work to a school project.  Other kids come at recess and just take time to create.  Of all of the things I miss about leaving my old school and district, my art center and the joy it brought to so many kids, is what I miss the most.

In addition to adding new art materials to our home art area, and creating our art atelier at school, we have also been learning more about creating art.  I’m REALLY not much of an artist, so when my kids want to draw or paint something I usually need to find directions.  We found some wonderful “how to draw” books at the library.  My son also enjoyed looking up “how to draw” videos on You Tube.  There was also a painting book included in the set of watercolor pencils we bought at Michael’s.  I’m still not a great artist, but at least I can say I’m having fun trying!The great thing about having our art supplies in caddies, is that it makes art portable.  When my daughter wants to take them outside to draw the trees, they can go along with her.  Right now, she enjoys sprawling out in the family room and drawing on the floor.  She usually has the iPad propped up next to her, and spend time asking Siri how to draw different thing.  Siri is pretty good at finding You Tube videos and images for her.

Happy art making!


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