In our beginning classes we cover a different introductory theme each session, such as
texture or color. By introducing these elements into our projects and station play each
week, the idea is reinforced through various means. For example, if our color of the
week is green, we might have green play dough, use green paint on the easels, and create
a green themed project.
In our recent 10-week session we took on the idea of “shapes” and incorporated it in
various ways around the studio. We had fun coming up with ideas to reinforce the
unique shapes and after a few weeks, kids would come in to class and eagerly seek out
the shape of the week.
We had a collage project for our youngest students (1.5 – 2.5 years) featuring rectangle
shaped paper with smaller rectangles to glue on to it. The paper is labeled with the word
“Rectangle” on top to further immerse the children in the concept of the shape.
For this project we used small brushes (perfectly sized for little hands) and let them apply
the glue as they wished, then stick on the paper rectangles.
Our older students (2.5 to 4 years) had a two-step project. First, we gave them strips of
colorful paper, and instruct them in using scissors to cut rectangles from it. We tell the
children to keep their “thumbs up” so they can get their thumb and fingers oriented
correctly. We also provided them with thin strips of paper so that they just had to make
one cut to be successful in creating a rectangle. Scissors can take a while to master, so
caregivers helped out as the kids got the hang of it.
Our triangle project was a collage of triangle shaped paper on a larger triangle shaped
piece. Again, we labeled the larger, base piece with the shape name: “Triangle”. For this
project we had the children use glue sticks for their collaging. Our lesson includes
information about what makes a triangle a triangle: three corners and three sides.
Sometimes we vary this project by using foil on the triangle base, which creates a novel
surface. We’ll also challenge the students to glue their triangle pieces on with the sides all
touching; it makes an interesting design.
For the younger kids, we do a stamping project with various round shaped objects to
create circles, on round paper labeled with the word “Circles”. For this type of project,
we use a thin layer of paint on a paper plate to create clean non-blobby stamps and for
ease of clean up.
This is a great way to use recycled objects to create art: we use tape rolls, dowels, bottle caps, old film canisters, etc. We keep a supply box going throughout the year and add to it when we find something that looks good.
The project for older kids is a favorite for both students and teachers: making circle prints
from oranges. We cut the oranges well in advance of class and then blot them, so they
are not too juicy to make a good print once dipped in paint.
We again use round paper labeled with the word “Circles” to stamp on, and coordinating colors of paint, thinly spread on paper plates. The kids are instructed to blot the oranges again after dipping them in paint for crisp prints. At this age (2.5 – 4 years old) they can follow these multistep directions.