The Atelier is a laboratory that gives value to the expressive potentials and creativity of each individual and of all the children. It is a place of experimentation and research, a space in which the children have a delightful presence. Here the children can find many possibilities for expressing themselves and can independently make careful selections of materials and experiment with different resources.
We greatly appreciate all the donations of boxes that have been brought in, which has made amazing building projects possible. The cardboard box construction is fascinating to observe and I love to watch the joy and energy with which the children dialogue with this space and the resources; the many varied ways they create, invent and discover. The ways in which the children help each other to learn are delightful. We encourage children to explore the materials in their own way, and to look for their own solutions to the problems they find. We encourage collaborative work and collaborative problem solving. Of course, with the passion and ideas also comes conflict and tensions as the children try to find ways to make their ideas clear to others, try to collaborate, have to deal with failure as their construction tumbles to the floor or manage their emotions when a friend knocks down their model. But still, everyday the boxes receive value and new life in other forms, taking on new and diversified identities.
I love that we can promote the idea that waste materials can be resources, with the aim to reinvent their use and meaning. Our focus is on giving value to discarded materials, imperfect products and seemingly worthless objects in order to reinvent their use and provide new opportunities for creativity and communication. The children make visible to us the endless possibilities of accessible materials and mediums in which they can express themselves. And in an era where sustainability is paramount to our future success, we need our youngest generation to learn and see multiple potentials for a single object. It is not only a path of creativity; it is also the path of innovation. Lella Gandini, author of many books on the Reggio Emilia approach, reminds parents and educators alike that,
“the studio is not an isolated place where artistic things happen. It is a laboratory for thinking.”
I wonder what you have observed a simple cardboard box transform into, in the capable hands and imagination of your children?
- Clair Wain, Director of Early Years