This post is woefully late, but it has been a busy week. Come to think of it, our last session of Toddler Time at the Columbus Museum of Art was busy too. We started with just one station (light boxes) and simultaneously worked on our big project -a collage using contact paper as a ground and tissue paper for the medium. If this sounds familiar, it may be because I’ve written about this process before. The kids all seemed to find success with it. Some tore the tissue into small pieces, some cut with scissors, and others took big sheets of color to form quick compositions. It’s interesting how after just four weeks with them, I started to get a sense of how some of the children expressed their on style through their work.
After about 20 minutes, everyone seemed ready to move onto something else and we walked up to an interior courtyard that houses a large glass assemblage by Dale Chihuly. It’s very colorful and the kids ran towards it like moths to a flame. Amanda read them a story and then talked to them a bit about the colors and shapes they saw in the piece. After making a few shapes with our bodies, we moved into the galleries for one final stop together.
We all gathered around a still life and the children talked about the fruits they saw in the painting and which ones they liked to eat. As they did this, Amanda pulled faux fruits from a sack and passed them around. This enabled the children to touch something that looked like what they were talking about. I think this really helped them connect with the image. At the end of the conversation, they each put whatever fruit they were holding on the floor in a pile approximating a still life.
I’m sitting here thinking it would be fun to try this with really fruit sometime, which the children could eat, engaging their senses of taste and smell. While I would ordinarily read an idea like this and think it trite, in this context, I’m understanding how it might solidify a connection between what they were looking at in the image and their own experiences. Of course there’s no food or drink allowed in the galleries!
I have yet to sit down and reflect on this series of gatherings as a whole in any meaningful way. When I do, I’ll be sure to share any insights I discover. At this point, I’m helping Amanda plan a survey for the participants and I look forward to seeing what it reveals about how others experienced the sessions. I plan to fill it out as well, responding as a parent, apart from my role as a facilitator to whatever extent I can. I have a running list of people interested in this type of programming should it continue, and I’ll be curious to see how and if it does.