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July 30, 2013

Exploring Art with ECE Students

Recently, ArtStarts was pleased to host students from the Sprott-Shaw Community College early childhood education program. Sprott-Shaw's program aims to develop nurturing and understanding caregivers by giving them tools to teach and lead activities for young children. Two groups of ECE students were on site to view the current gallery exhibition, Botanimalogy, and participate in specially designed activities.

In an hour-long session led by program coordinator Elfred Matining and ArtStarts volunteer Jade Se, the groups were first introduced to ArtStarts and briefed about how they might make use of our services in their careers as children's educators. The students were then given a tour of the current exhibition with a focus on how art can be utilized as a learning strategy to teach children about various topics. Elfred and Jade discussed how artists were able to introduce complex ideas—such as storytelling, social awareness, and even the Fibonacci sequence—through art.

Finishing the tour at Patterns and Geometry in Nature, artwork created by K-11 students from the Arrow Lakes School District, the visiting ECE students were then surprised with an activity that allowed them to get their hands a little dirty working with paint. In the activity, which reflected Patterns and Geometry in Nature, the groups were presented with arrays of leaves that they used to make brilliantly coloured prints. Students utilized both positive and negative space to create unique and inspired designs.

Once their works were completed, students were instructed to cross cut their pieces and trade a sheet with another student. In finalizing their works, the students paid attention to the overall compositions of their pieces.

Some chose to trade works with similar colour palettes, while others chose compositionally different pieces to create a dichotomous whole. The students were excited to see their final pieces and enjoyed the hands-on creative experience.

The students left ArtStarts with their new artworks and armed with the knowledge of how to utilize art as an innovative teaching tool.

This blog post was written by Kamille Manoy, an ArtStarts volunteer.

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