While the visual art part of our program is the subject of this blog, we do have other things going on, just as any school or center. There is dramatic play, manipulatives, puzzles, books, movement, music, snack, and all the other bits and pieces that make up an early childhood program. The room we use for painting, collaging, clay, and other art-related projects (things that spill and stain) is called the Project Center. This is a shared space for snack and on any given week day, the room is shared by two different age groups. On Monday, for instance, the room is used by the 3- and 4-year olds in the morning for both snack with a quick change to "project center" and then again for both snack and "project center" by the 4- and 5-year olds in the afternoon.
This equals a lot of paper, a lot of cutting, glue, and paint, a lot of spills, a lot of moving fast.
Readers have asked, "Where do you store the art work?" We have these great heavy gauge wire racks overhead in the Project Center, built by one of the co-opers when we first renovated the school in 2001. There are three that stretch overhead and these were built to the teacher's specifications and built quite well. Only one has come down over the years and with a simple repair it has also held up well.
The wire racks are high, so a step stool is need, but I have done a fair amount of chair and table standing to the children's delight. The wires will hold most work, but collage projects and some large, and especially heavy paintings need to be laid flat. This is not because they are heavy, but because collage work will mold itself to the wires and if these are especially textured, they will be difficult to later flatten. Heavily painted surfaces are simply to difficult to gracefully land on the high surface without folding over -- unless we have a really tall co-oper working that day.
In those cases, we will roll out sheets of paper on the floor in our dramatic play space to begin the drying process and then move these to the wires after school ends for the day leaving the room ready to roll the next day for music, movement, or drama, depending on the day of the week.
|The wire rack above, filled, while the table holds another batch. The works on the table will|
be stacked, once dry, and moved to a radiator cover/shelf to flatten beneath one of hollow
blocks (they're not just for building!)
|Eye hooks connected to strips of wood and laced with a heavy gauge|
wire. The wood is then attached with bolts to the wall.