Few educators of early childhood students would question the validity of exploration as a technique to assist children to construct their own knowledge, define concepts, make sense of themselves and their world or simply to express themselves. Art lessons often, however, become more of a subject or discipline controlled by the teacher.
There is no doubt that a place exists for children to learn specific teacher-directed skills and create pieces of craft identical to each other, and some children feel supported doing this. However, as teachers, we often underestimate the creativity and scope of children’s self-expression. Educators familiar with the Reggio Emilia approach will not be surprised by the wonderful creations children produce.
How often do we simply provide children with media or materials and let them explore? Perhaps some of the following activities will inspire teachers to let children play with art a little more. Be prepared though—it’s going to get messy!
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