For the first week of our second session, we explored the spectrum of colors, and the major musical (diatonic) scale. In the Reggio-Emilia philosophy, the children’s learning environment is considered one of the three “teachers”, (with the other two being the parents, and the instructor). Therefore, we used the studio space to awaken the visual sense by creating color stations around the room. Each station contained items such as magnifying glasses, toy bugs, scoops, pom poms, ropes, balls, and more, all matched to the color of the station.
In our art classes this week we began by exploring the color stations. Sorting items by individual colors eliminates distractions and allows children to focus on the specific color and concept. The selected items at each station were an invitation for imagination and creation. Children strengthened fine motor skills by squeezing oversized tweezers to pick up and drop pom pom balls into buckets. Color pegs and bugs were transformed into people and families on playgrounds.
This week we explored paint media, this time mixing it from a dry powder. Children were invited to mix their own paint from paint powder and water. The children were given glass dishes with a scoop of Natural Earth powder (pigmented with natural minerals!). After children investigated the paint in its powder form, they were asked what would happen if they were to add water. Armed with squirt bottles of water, our artists observed the scientific properties of the substance as it changed from a dry to a wet medium. “ooohh, it’s changing to PAINT” exclaimed C. Some artists delighted in the kinesthetic activity of squeeeeeezing the bottle and found that the paint became more like watercolor. Other children were very gentle and precise with the amount of water they added and found their paint was thicker and “goopey”. Children shared their paint colors with each other as they created their own unique paintings. While swirling blue and yellow paint onto her paper, A noticed the colors mixing and exclaimed, “GREEN!”
Our baby artists also got to explore color through our color stations and with our paint made from fruits and veggies! A sensory delight as C spread, squeezed, and smooshed the paint around the table surface.
Our beautiful homemade play dough gave way to building, manipulating, and sculpting three-dimensional color! Oceans swelled with octopi, starfish, and turtles; imaginative creatures were formed; and “soup”, “tea”, and “pizza” were served as children created upon the tabletop. Many children experimented with color mixing by smashing the play dough together. M was amazed to see that she now had orange play dough after smooshing the red and yellow dough together.
Little Artists classes were guided through a weaving project as we discussed the different materials that people can weave in making clothes, rugs, or blankets. Children were able to practice their cutting skills as they created their looms. The selected strips of paper were woven into the looms and the chant of the weaving pattern could be overheard as the children worked, “over, under, over, under, over….” It was phenomenal to see the level of concentration and focus in each child as they engaged in the calming weaving process. Each work of art was beautiful in brilliant patterned color!
Let's Create MUSIC!
This week in music class we approached the concept of notes as being “colors” in music. The human ear perceives sound waves within a range of frequencies, with lower notes having longer wavelengths, and higher pitches having shorter wavelengths. This is analogous to the way our eyes perceive color – as different frequencies of light. The red side of the visible light spectrum has longer, and the violet side shorter wavelengths. We introduced this concept using several different activities designed to enhance cognitive, physical/kinesthetic, and verbal development.
We introduced the Solfège C major scale (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do) using Kodàly hand symbols, using a visual aid to present the scale with each note represented by a color of the rainbow. Using the hand symbols helped them to connect the sounds we were making and hearing with a physical representation. Starting at the lowest “Do” note, the hand symbol of a fist is kept low, at our bellies, and then works its way up to the forehead as we go through the major scale. To present the same material a different, more kinesthetic way, we used Boomwhackers, colored tubes that are tuned to the C major scale. The students had a great time whacking the Boomwhackers all around the studio, hearing the different pitches produced.
For our provocations this week, we placed different Orff instruments around the room at our color stations. At the warm color stations (red, orange, and yellow) we placed the “warm sounding” xylophones, whereas at the cool color stations (green, blue, purple) we placed the colder metal instruments, such as metallophone, glockenspiel, tambourines and bells. Each child and caregiver could explore the instruments together, and as I circled around the room playing light background guitar music in D pentatonic, the sounds filling the room from all sides created an enchanting effect. A box of fun shaker instruments, guiros, cabasas, castanets, and wood blocks was also presented.
We read the book “Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You?” by Dr. Suess, which is a great tool for practicing different sounds with our mouths. Some children knew the book well, and proudly made the sounds in the book with great skill, while some of our younger students that have not yet experienced the book observed the other kids intently, studying every move. It was apparent how important the group dynamic is for social and cognitive development, as children look to their peers for learning the things that are meaningful to them at that stage. Conversely, older kids take ownership of and solidify their knowledge by presenting it to younger students.
Near the end of class, we invited the students back to the rug to play the big gathering drum. This session, we are planning a special “Going on a Bear Hunt” adventure, in which we will make the famous book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury come alive in the studio at the end of the session! To prepare for this special event, we are going to be practicing the book every week around the gathering drum. We had lots of fun making the “swishy, swashy” sounds of the grass by rubbing our hands across the drum head, or the “tiptoe, tiptoe” sounds of creeping through the bear cave, by lightly tapping the drum with our fingertips. Stay tuned for future episodes of our adventure!
Enjoy the slideshow below for a closer look into our week!