The children in the Den are about to embark upon a creative adventure …
We know that young children are inventive, by observing them during play we see how their brains can turn a wooden block into a phone and a cardboard box can become a space rocket. They display great creativity that as adults we often lose. In the Den we allow children to play with open-ended resources to encourage that creativity.
The concept of the Atelier comes from the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Years Education. The Atelier is the name for a creative art workshop. Lois Malaguzzi founded the Reggio Emilia approach after the Second World War, in the town of Reggio Emilio in Northern Italy. Since the time of its development, knowledge of the approach has spread and it is well known within Early Years Education for its relationship with the arts and promotion of children’s creativity.
There is a poem associated with the approach that was written by Loris Malaguzzi called The Hundred Languages of Children. The poem highlights the various ways that children demonstrate their creativity and how their imaginations can be squashed by the world around them. We aim to nurture children’s creativity in order to generate creative thinkers for the future.
The Reggio approach highlights the role of the learning environment as the third educator and as providing provocation for learning. The Atelier environment will be encouraging, stimulating and inviting for children to get involved in. As we are a Forest School nursery, we will certainly be bringing the outside in to the Atelier. We will be using natural resources as provocation for exploring and design. We will be following the seasons, for example by using Autumn leaves to talk about and explore changes in colour, and by using blackberries to paint with. We will explore clay, soil and sand and make patterns with shells and stones. Children will use their senses to explore texture, colour, space and so much more.
Groups of children will use the Atelier, just as they currently enjoy Forest School or Group work times. We will spend our sessions exploring, creating, manipulating, imagining, building, thinking, collaborating, supporting each other’s ideas and working together.
The focus is clearly upon children’s creativity although there will be links to other Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum areas, for example maths, as we explore shapes, space and patterns. There is support for developing children’s personal, social and emotional skills as we work together and collaborate, sharing the resources and space as a community. We will be developing children’s physical skills as we explore malleable materials and use tools to make changes to those materials using fine motor skills. Children’s understanding of the world will be supported as we will follow the seasons and use objects and materials from nature. Children’s communication and language skills will be used as we talk through ideas and follow lines of thinking. Due to the open-ended nature of our activities, there is potential for so much more.
We will be observing children’s responses to the area and resources available to them and look for the three Characteristics of Effective Learning:
Playing and Exploring (Engagement)
Active Learning (Motivation)
Creating and Critical Thinking (Thinking)
as the children explore, concentrate, and follow their own ideas.
This is an exciting adventure for us and I am excited to see where the children’s ideas take us …
In the Den