Curriculum Specialist, Cloud and Star Rooms
Professional Development days allow us to dive into these kinds of opportunities together as a community of learners. While we understand that the center closures can pose an inconvenience for families, it is so important for us to take this time to grow together. As a school, we can either make a decision to believe that the knowledge we have is all that we need OR we can ensure that we are always evolving along with the advances in our field. We say that "our philosophy is an eclectic collection of best practices in early childhood education," and that means we also choose the path of life-long learning ourselves. We must continue to research and explore new ideas and dialogue about which of these are the best fit for Fair Oaks.
There is a school of thought, which we agree with, that children should have authentic materials at their disposal. Your own memories of making "art" as a child may involve boxes of crayons and cans of modeling clay, but we believe children can be entrusted with artist-quality supplies. In order for us to model appropriate use and to share techniques, we must have have a knowledge of the medium ourselves. So for this past professional development day, I chose to bring "watercolors" to the staff.
Pans of watercolors are no strangers to our preschool classrooms, but I wanted to demonstrate to the teachers the subtleties they may have never noticed-the "tooth" of the paper, the appropriate brushes to use, how watercolors bloom when dropped onto a wet painting surface, which effects a dry brush can create, the way oil pastels resist the paint. I hoped to encourage the teachers to see that watercolors could be ethereal, fluid, and awe-inspiring, not unlike how the children already view them. In the end, the watercolors spoke to us. Listen to what they said...