Creative beginnings for tiny tots

Posts tagged ‘Virginia’

Nuts to you!

If you’ve spent any time with us at all, you know by now that we love an opportunity to integrate real happenings and materials from nature, with the stories and art-making that we experience in class.  There is no shortage of opportunities to do just that, this time of year.

Thanks to Lois Ehlert, one of my all-time favorite children’s book authors and illustrators, we went “nuts” this week:

NUTS

TO

YOU!

Check out Nuts To You by Lois Ehlert, when you have a chance.  Her collages will wow you almost as much as ours just did!

In Memoriam

In loving memory of my first teacher,  my mother.  She was a role model of patience, gentleness, and nurturing with little ones, and instilled in me a love of children’s books from the very beginning.

Judi Altman
July 14, 1933 – August 30, 2012

My apologies for my absence from this site for much of the summer.  My attention was focused elsewhere, with my family, during this difficult time.  So much so, in fact, that for the first time, registration for fall classes got underway without my even realizing it!  However, I am now gearing up for an exhilarating fall season and looking forward to hopefully seeing lots of old friends as well getting to meet many new ones!  If you are considering joining us, there is still time.  Most classes start next week, and there are still a few slots open in each of our locations.  Hop over to the appropriate website to get full schedule and registration details:

City of Alexandria – Durant Center

Falls Church Community Center

Herndon Community Center

Little Kids and Big Ideas in 3-D

In his whimsical tale of an ambitiously imaginative boy who invents a car with all the trimmings (including built in swimming pool, snack bar, and the capacity for sailing the seas and soaring through the skies, to name a few), Chris Van Dusen speaks to the wild imaginations of boys and girls everywhere, who dare to dream big.

Inspired by this engaging book, our toddlers and preschoolers expanded their visual vocabularies by tinkering with 3-D materials to come up with inventions of their own.

The range of experiences, lessons, skills, and designs were broad and delightful to watch unfold.

Each child received a brown bag filled with a variety of wood pieces and a rectangular cardboard panel as a work surface.  They were given ample time to simply interact with their pieces, without the notion of creating a permanent arrangement.

We witnessed:

SORTING…

STACKING…

BALANCING…

AND FINALLY….GLUING!!!

The end result was this veritable visual wonderland.  From chaos to order to symmetry and back, these creations conjure images of vehicles, contraptions, buildings, cityscapes and random fun. Our sculptors ranged in age from 20 months to 5 years old.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fact that the book also features a very spunky pup, who is the spittin’ image of my wonderdog, Chessie, in every aspect of appearance and winning personality!

Have You Seen Trees?

This lovely book written by Joanne Oppenheim and illustrated by Jean and Mou-Sien Tseng

inspired life-sized art, as we posed like trees and got to stretch our limbs as we drew and painted on large paper posted on the wall.  Working large, on a vertical surface, makes the act of drawing and painting very much a gross motor (rather than fine motor) activity.  The arms move from the shoulder down to the hand, and the entire trunk is engaged for balance as children paint in a standing or squatting position.

Have you seen trees?  High trees, wide trees, reaching-to-the-sky trees….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gallery

These nests are THE BEST!!!

Here’s a little photo gallery of some of our busy nesters and some of the many delightful nests they created in our classes recently.

Gallery

Nature AND Nurture

Nothing like baby animals to bring out the nurturing side in us humans, and toddlers and preschoolers are no exception.  The essence of that nurturing spirit is captured literally and symbolically in the concept of the nest.   And the act of nesting itself, creating a warm, protective environment in which a new life can grow and emerge enveloped by its parents and the safe haven they so carefully crafted, is truly captivating for young children, as they identify with the babies in the scenario and also get to try the parental role on for size.

Toddlers and preschoolers are natural collectors…

… and gluers…

And as you can see, highly invested in creating their own unique nests.

An ambitious five year old got busy with scissors to create his own chipmunk from construction paper and flower petals (for eyes) to live in his nest.

I just love these nests, and look forward to seeing them emerge each spring!

Spring Session, Coming Right Up!

Spring just may be my favorite time of year for collecting stories and unique materials to share with my little students.  I guess the spirit of growth and possibility and new discoveries that accompanies springtime is the perfect context for exploring the possibilities of creating with materials.

 

There is still time to register for Spring classes that start NEXT WEEK in Alexandria and Falls Church.  Space is limited!  Registration for Summer classes is also currently underway in the City of Alexandria and those are filling very quickly as well.

Herndon friends, remember that a second Spring Session at the Herndon Community Center will begin at the end of April, and regitsration for these classes is currently underway as well.  Hope you’ll join us.