It took 9 full weeks to work our way through the opening of our 6 studio spaces. Each opening requires the teaching of studio specific expectations for how materials are organized, used and cleaned up. My artists have been amazingly patient as we've worked our way around the Art Studio opening: Drawing, Collage, Builders, Fiber, Painting and Clay. We also have a Computer & Resource Library which did not require an official "opening".
As we have worked through the first 9 week and all the procedures it has entailed, I have been again reminded of how unique and authentic this Studio is. While most Elementary students across the city and state have at this point only been exposed to drawing and maybe painting, my artists have had mini experiences in 6 major medias! Now, the challenge is for each kiddo to take that base knowledge and exploration to the next level. We will start to shift our Studio Habit focus from Stretch & Explore to Envision, Engage & Persist and Developing a Craft. That's a huge mind shift for any artist, let alone little ones!
I have so appreciated the support I have received from my fellow staff members and from my artists parents. It's a huge mind shift for them too! Because this pedagogy focuses on the process over the project, the work coming out of the studio looks MUCH different. No longer are these talented little artists forced to complete "cookie-cutter" projects. No longer are they told that the ideas of the teacher are more important than their own. NOW they are creating authentic artworks based on their own ideas and interests. NOW they are thinking independently while they organize their work spaces and use materials appropriately. NOW they are beginning to think like artists while becoming better leaders of themselves, better problem-solvers and more engaged students.