This post is part of the Exploring Reggio series with:
“Every child is a creative child, full of potential, with the desire and right to make meaning out of life within a context of rich relationships, in many ways and using many languages.” ~ In the Spirit of the Studio
In many ways, the emphasis the Reggio Emilia Approach puts on the creative and expressive arts is what continues to inspire me and drive me forward to learn more, experiment more and delve deeper with my children.
Art is not a separate subject, it is not marginalised. It is equal in status to academic disciplines and from what I have seen and read and understand, art, and all the hundreds of different forms it takes, is a fundamental principle, overarching all learning areas and bringing them together into a creative whole; one which allows the child opportunities to explore, discuss, problem solve and express themselves ‘with great liberating merriment.’ (~Loris Malaguzzi)
‘…the atelier [art studio] had to be a place for the individual exploration of projects… a place for researching motivations and theories of children from scribbles on up, a place for exploring variations in tools, techniques, and materials with which to work.’
So while I don’t expect many of us have space at home for a dedicated atelier, I think we can still make authentic art materials available to our children for them to explore and create; materials like paint, in every colour imaginable.
What colour is the sky? Blue right? What about at sunset and sunrise? Or when a thunderstorm is rolling in? What about the night sky? Just like our exploration of the many different shades of green, this week we refilled our paint pots with new and inspiring colours; colours to paint the night sky, to paint a sunset, colours to ignite their imagination.
Mixing colours is always lots of fun. Jack and Sarah take great care dribbling colours into a jar and mixing them together until they are happy with the new colour. Over time they have learnt which colours blend beautifully and which ones will end up as a murky browny-green.
- find yourself some small clear containers with screw-top lids – we use 12 plastic craft containers from the dollar store but you could also reuse empty jars
- lay out your colours in open shallow containers – Jack and Sarah use a lot of black and white so I always make sure I have two containers of each of those along with red, blue and yellow (and sometimes purple and pink although I prefer them to make their own)
- add a little spoon to each paint container for scooping
- find something for mixers – we just use paddle-pop sticks (popsicle sticks)
- head to the hardware store and pick up some colour swatches. They are really useful for talking about different shades and working to create different colours
The paint pots always get filled pretty quickly. Every time we mix new colours I remind myself that we really need more containers.
It is nice having such a beautiful range of colours for Jack and Sarah to use. I like to watch them as they carefully choose their colours for painting. Here is a painting Jack called ‘The Burning Building’. Each layer and each colour was chosen to tell a different part of the story, sometimes adding a little more black or a little more white, dabbing here and a brush stroke there. Beautiful.
I’m really enjoying this series. I hope you are too. We’ll have another Exploring Reggio post for you next fortnight.