Giving children the opportunity to convey meaning and make their ideas visible through different forms of creative expression is important in the work we do at the preschool.
We, like Loris Malaguzzi and the educators of Reggio Emilia, believe that children possess ‘a hundred languages’; a hundred ways of thinking, of expressing themselves, of making connections and of building understandings.
The ‘hundred languages’ is a metaphor for the incredible potentials of children, and the myriad of ways that they are capable of communicating and constructing knowledge. As children and adults engage and explore these languages together, new learning will emerge, and ways of thinking will be transformed, always allowing us to reach new levels of meaning through this collaborative process. It is critical that we give equal value to all of these languages, both verbal and non-verbal, as these represent the children’s ideas, thoughts, theories, and unique strengths and capabilities.
Drawing and mark making are highly valued ‘languages’ here at the Northern Nursery School, and we encourage daily explorations and the refining of these languages through the provisioning of different pens, inks, pencils, markers, pastels and charcoals. Through these most creative art forms, theories are made visible, ideas are shared, stories created, and the foundation for written language grows.
Working in collaboration, children are able to inspire each other and refine their ideas as they negotiate, problem solve and engage in rich dialogue to consolidate their thinking.
Clay is one of the materials that children always have access to as a form of expression. This wonderfully tactile and sculptural form allows children to convey their ideas three-dimensionally. We have a kiln that allows the children to fire their pieces, fully experiencing the wonderful world and possibilities of ceramics.
Children will often use loose parts and natural materials to create transient pieces of art. Being a non-permanent art form, children gain an understanding and appreciation of the processes and possibilities that arise from using different materials and spaces to create.