The Studio is a space for focused exploration and inquiry – a place for materials to be investigated and for interests that might reveal themselves elsewhere to be given time and space enough for deep investigation. The atelierista facilitates this work, preparing the Studio for visits, distributing materials to classrooms, and meeting with teachers in order to reflect on and develop new provocations.
At the beginning of the year, the Studio offers children in every classroom (from the youngest infants to the oldest preschoolers) opportunities to meet a variety of different art media – from paper to paint to clay and beyond. Spending time with these materials in small groups helps children to become familiar with the unique vocabulary of each medium, and, through this understanding, better use these materials to communicate their own ideas. Of course, this process will look different for different age groups; infants will first get to know the Studio through classroom visits from the atelierista, allowing the children and teacher to learn a bit about each other before venturing to a new space together; young children will begin with sensory-oriented introductions to materials; and older children will be invited to use the medium of the day in more representative ways.
As children become comfortable with the materials and with the Studio space, the atelierista may begin to bring Studio-style explorations into the classroom as well, modeling for children and teachers the ways in which Studio techniques and practices are a part of the larger culture of the classroom and of the center.
The latter half of the year will see the Studio transformed into a space for project work. Although the space itself will not change much, the use of the space will be different. Teachers will work to identify powerful questions arising among the children in their care, forming small groups who share particular interests that they wish to explore more deeply. The Studio and the atelierista will support this work, offering a space for these groups to work together towards their shared goals, as well as for teachers to meet to discuss their thoughts about the project.
Throughout the entire year, the Studio is a haven for artists, researchers, and engineers of all ages – a place where they might learn from one another and share their own expertise in order to work together towards a greater purpose.