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ECCE 1113 Classroom Art Area Critique
You are to visit the art center in a classroom (not the art classroom) and look for the following items:
The art center should be like an Artist’s Studio
It should be inviting and visually appealing. A place where children can be creative by using a variety of materials of their own choosing. It will probably be cluttered and noisy, and look as if a lot of exploration of materials happens there. Art work done by the children and by other artists should be displayed at the children’s eye level. You would also expect to find books on art in this area.
The art center should be conveniently located
It should be located on tile (for easy clean-up), near the sinks, and in the “noisy” side of the classroom. It should be protected from children walking through on their way to other places. It should be well lit from natural lighting if possible. The art center should have ample room for a small number of children to work, a table that is easy to clean with chairs for children, easels for painting and shelves for storage.
The art center should be stocked with developmentally appropriate materials.
You should expect to find paint brushes, paint and paper; recycled items such as boxes, plastic bottles, fabric and buttons.
The items in the art center generally fall into 6 categories:
Marking tools – crayons, markers, pencils, etc.
Paper – variety of sizes, colors, and textures
Molding materials – clay and/or play dough and tools
Cutting and fastening – scissors, glue, staplers, hole punches, tape, etc.
Painting – paint, brushes, etc.
Collage items – old magazines, wallpaper, yarn, wrapping paper, fabric, etc.
For children with visual problems you may want to add a scent to the play dough or use fluorescent paints.
The art center should be organized.
Items should have a container of their own instead of placing a number of different items in the same container. Similar items should be grouped together on the same shelf (i.e. place all the marking tools on one shelf). Containers should be clear so the children can see what is in them. Labels should be attached to the container and the shelf for easy clean-up. There should be a place to place work that needs to dry.
The art center should have rules.
Rules for how to use the area should be posted in writing and with pictures so that children and guests can see them. Often rules deal with health and safety. Children should was their hands before modeling materials, and should always wash when they are ready to leave the art center. Other rules may include how scissors are used, where to use certain items (modeling materials on the table, paint at the easel, etc.). The rules should reflect the developmental level of the children. Rules I have used in the past include: Smocks must be worn when painting. Return the items to the correct container when done. Clean-up spills and messes as soon as possible. You need to be seated in a chair when using scissors.
After you have looked at the art center, write a one page paper, 5 paragraph paper on your findings. Each paragraph should reflect one of the 5 items above (Artist’s studio, conveniently located, well stocked, organized, rules). Make sure you mention school you visited, the age of the children in the classroom, and the date of your visit.
Schirrmacher, R. (2009) Art and Creative Development for Young Children, 6th edition, USA: Thomson Delmar Learning