It is amazing to me that an art studio filled with children under 12 can be so quiet. I don't have a teaching background, so I don't really have any experience with which to base this amazement (except for, perhaps, my own rambunctious kids).
In surveying the studio on a recent afternoon, I saw a focused 18 month old painting on an easel that was just her height. (I'm not sure I'd ever thought to put those words together --"focused" and "18 month old" --before now.) I saw four 12 year olds using tissue paper and watered down glue to make stained glass looking animals - never really uttering a word, except an occasional "wow that looks so cool." I found one 2 year old at the wash-up sink. I think he loved the idea of being able to reach the faucet by himself. His mom was trying to gently coax him back into the studio. The watercolor stations were filled with kids - all with their heads down working. And, three siblings were playing in the kinetic sand quietly (until one decided he wanted a utensil another was using).
Literally, save for a few parents chatting in a corner and light music playing, it was so calm and quiet.
If this sounds like an anomaly, it really isn't. If you have been in the studio at one of these times, you've probably heard me mention it or noticed it yourself. It just blows my mind.
It makes me think we've hit on something. Giving kids free reign to art supplies without much guidance is scary and, yes, messy. But, the amount of focus that these kids bring to their artwork is truly remarkable, and, what has been the most fun to see, is how proud the kids are of the work that comes out of this quiet focus!!
Post by: Anna Vergos Blair