Prepare for CAEYC with DIY Fun!

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We are gearing up for CAEYC, which is also known as the California Association of the Education of Young Children!  This association has an annual convention in California for early childhood educators.  Each state has their own association and there is a popular national association called NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) This national association is the premier professional development conference for teachers who work with young children; ages 0-8.

I am sponsored by Discount School Supply which is a nationally recognized company that supplies quality school products at everyday low prices.  Each year they have a booth at the CAEYC and NAEYC convention and each year I attend and present at workshop.  At CAEYC 2016, Discount School Supply will a proud supporter of the association and has gotten “Super Star” Status through their contributions to this wonderful organization!

These conferences are so much fun! I just love to engage with all of the fellow educators that attend. Check out the PARTY at the NAEYC 2015 booth that Discount School Supply sponsored! We pulled out all the stops and engaged teachers in more hands-on creativity than ever before this year. Our goal in the DSS booth area was to provide creativity and rejuvenation, and from the looks of it we were successful. Yay! The paper Top Hats we’re wearing are fun to decorate and super easy to make with our Top Hat Lesson Plan.

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Since hands-on discovery is the way we all learn best, we organize DIY experiences by offering a variety of arts materials with just a wee bit of structure and guidance. At NAEYC we highlighted BioColor® one day, and Colorations® Liquid Watercolor another day while providing how-to tips and ideas for both beginners and more seasoned staff. Teachers could sit down and play with our paints and a variety of new collage materials while combining fresh techniques in new ways onto a final craft project.

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Here’s a favorite open-ended project: our papier-mâché Secret Boxes. These make wonderful handmade gifts and if you like these teacher-oriented clip art quotes, they are provided here for your use. These quotes are perfect for mixed media creations, and can turn any teacher’s Party into a creative DIY event.
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Won’t you join us at CAEYC or your state conference this year? We’ll bring the party!

Materials Shown in this Post:     
Paints & Collage Materials  
BioColor Painters BMAR
Glittering Rhinestones Gem Jar GEMJAR
Iridescent Fabric Shapes SHINYFAB
Spotted Feathers SPOTTED
Printed Craft Tape FABULOUS
Projects To Decorate  
Paper Mache Secret Books PMSEC
White Paper Top Hats HATSOFF

 

WorkShop at CAEYC 2016 by Anna Reyner

Art, Creativity and Brain Development

Apr 1, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

Modern neuroscience has provided hard evidence that connective pathways in the brain are actually created by repeated early experiences. A child’s early engagement in art activities can help create unique brain connections that will have long-term impact on a child’s life.

Art engages children’s hands, minds and emotions and helps develop valuable cognitive, social-emotional, and multi-sensory skills. Learn to identify the many developmental skills children master through art activities, and how self directed art fosters creativity and self esteem.

“Art & Brain Development”
Repeated experiences with open ended art builds nerve circuits in the brain that influence how a child does in school, in relationships, and in society as a whole. A developmental theory presentation will discuss how art activities facilitate intellectual growth and cognitive development in early childhood. A Power Point presentation on Art in Child Development includes 20 slides of children’s artwork. Participants will review these slides and discuss how each different art activity facilitates specific problem solving, decision making and other cognitive skills.

“Art Therapy: Tools & Techniques for the Classroom”
Participants will be introduced to basic principles of art therapy and simple guidelines for understanding the language of children’s art. Through better understanding the language of art, participants will be better equipped to understand the emotional needs of the children in their care.

Session concludes with a playful hands-on art experience where participants engage with a partner and make their own art.

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A Thousand Cranes & Other Collaborative Art

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This week I had the good fortune to visit Anna Bing Arnold Children’s Center at Cal State L.A., where creative ideas are thriving. Curriculum Coordinator Alexandra Walsh and Director Patricia Ulloa have decades of combined experience and a particularly innovative staff. Like Dominic, who facilitated this brilliant collaborative puzzle piece painting with three- and four-year-olds, which immediately caught my eye. Isn’t it brilliant?

anna crane 2 anna crane 3Dominic explained how this experimental project began by cutting 12 x 18” Real Watercolor Paper into puzzle shapes, then prompting children to select a shape and paint it using Colorations® Simply Washable Fluorescent Tempera. The puzzle pieces were placed in a basket in the art area for use at any time. The intense color you see here resulted from distinct 3 variables:  (1) using fluorescent paint,  (2) mounting each puzzle piece painting onto black construction paper, then trimming a close border, and (3) by using watercolor paper instead of white construction paper. The added thickness (and spongy quality) of watercolor paper absorbs more pigment than regular paper, giving the finished paintings a visual “pop.”   Nice!

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I fell in love with this Thousand Cranes Origami project, facilitated by Jasmine Cruz and Raul Delgado, which creates a unique environment that children, parents and teachers all participated in!  This delightful classroom activity, which combines open-ended art with math foundations and collaborative teamwork, embodies the “Four C’s” which children will later address in Kindergarten and elementary school.  These “Four C’s” are the four specific skills deemed by the US Dept of Education to be the most important for preparing students to succeed in the 21st century: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.  Kudos to Jasmine and Raul for initiating an important learning experience while adding beauty and innovation to their school.

anna crane 8A Thousand Origami Cranes is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures that is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1,000 cranes are made, one for each year. Here children decorated papers over the course of two months, while parents and staff folded them into a thousand origami cranes. Thanks to patience and motivation, the children’s parents, grandparents and teachers strung all thousand of their hand-colored paper cranes onto cord and even added pony beads for charm.

Creative art programs like this one develop over time as the result of intention and practice on the part of administration and teachers. Lots of little tips that facilitate art set-ups are learned from experience. Writing the paint color of each bottle on the top of the white lid makes identifying each bottle a breeze.  Glue doesn’t just stick things together. It can be used in unique ways and one way is to pour a thick layer of clear glue onto a smooth surface and add seed pods, ferns and natural collage elements. When the thick layer of glue eventually dries, it creates a unique semi-clear glaze which holds the collage elements together. This second collage also uses clear glue, but in this one the glue is first infused with Colorations® Liquid Watercolor, then is painted and drizzled onto butcher paper.

anna crane 9 anna crane 10 anna crane 11anna crane 12Last but not least I re-discovered one of my favorite art techniques at Anna Bing Arnold that day:  the wonderful effect of colored chalk on black paper. This black butcher paper mural has so much energy, and I love how the door handle was cut out!  It also beautifully illustrates the constructionist idea on the poster in the center’s lobby: “Inviting children to fully engage in the use of messy, unstructured materials allows them to explore freely with infinite possibilities.”anna crane 13Thank you, Alex and staff for a LOT of inspiration.  Which one do YOU want to try?  

Materials Used Here:
Colorations® Liquid Watercolor Paints, 8 oz. – Set of 18 (LW18)

Colorations® Washable Clear Glue (P4GL)

Butcher Paper Rolls (P4018)

36″ x 1000′ Dual Surface Rolls, 40 lb., black (PDSBK)

Colorations® Colored Dustless Chalk – 100 pieces (CNODUST)

12 x 18″ Real Watercolor Paper – 50 sheets (BIGMONET)

9×12″ Heavyweight Construction Paper – 50 sheets (9CPBK)

Colorations® Simply Washable Fluorescent Tempera – set of 7 (FSWTSET)

Pony Beads – 1 lb. (PONY)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

* For more ideas, visit Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education.

Displaying Children’s Artwork – Budding Artists!

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Wait until you see this exciting display of children’s art from the College of the Canyons, and how open-ended preschool art looks when it’s beautifully displayed. This unique art exhibit was coordinated by CDC Director Monica Marshall and master teachers Kathy Walker and Faby Marton. You’ll see a wide range of creative paintings, weavings and collage, and some unique 3-D art applications. Get ready to feast your eyes!

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I was particularly moved by the branch weavings that were inspired by reading Margaret Musgrove’s The Spider Weaver, a legend about Kente cloth weaving. The exhibit included children’s thoughts about the story itself. One of the branch weavings was done on burlap and a second version was created without burlap. Here Kathy Walker shows off the branch weaving without burlap, and comments that the burlap inset made it much easier for young children to weave. That’s something I wouldn’t have thought of, but it makes good sense as the burlap offers a large, loose fabric that big needles can carry yarn through. Nice to know!

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These process paintings and 3-D constructions show that you can paint and collage onto practically anything. See if you can find the cardboard fruit inserts or paint stir sticks in these photos, they are the foundation for two of these wonderful creations.

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Thanks to Monica Marshall, Director of the Child Development Center at College of the Canyons and to the Fine Art Department and Art Gallery Director that made this campus collaboration possible. The exhibit will was up for six weeks and included a beautiful color postcard called Budding Artists.

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This awesome exhibit made me think of a story I recently heard from Anne Broussard, the delightful and highly experienced Child Care Coordinator at County of Orange. Knowing how much I love art, Anne told me this thought provoking story.  As part of her job at the County, Anne was assigned to entertaining foreign diplomats and teaching them about early childhood education in the US.  One afternoon she had guests from Iraq who were very interested in our preschool education system, so she was giving them a classroom tour. Her guests noticed some abstract art on the walls of a preschool classroom and asked her if a visiting artist had taught the children how to paint. They found it surprising to find so much art on the walls of the preschool, and were curious about it.  She told them preschool teachers in America are taught to give children the opportunity to make art naturally, to follow their own instincts without imposing adult rules or values. The educators from Iraq were stunned, they really could barely believe that children would naturally create art that looked so “artistic”!

As this Budding Artist’s Exhibit illustrates, children’s natural creations are indeed very “artistic,” and it is precisely this open-ended discovery that gives art its true value. As children make their own choices with messy art, they discover the emotional pleasures of sensory and tactile play while developing important cognitive and social-emotional skills….skills that will help them in life.

As Abraham Maslov has said, “Art education is important not because it turns out artists or art products, but because it seems to turn out better people.”

“Mommy, My Art is in the Trash!”

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“Mommy, my art is in the trash!” said 4-year-old Noah with shock and dismay. This is how Board Supervisor, Janice Rutherford, opened her keynote speech to a large group of educators. She held up her son’s paper plate painting, and told us how distressed he was when he found it in the trash can at home. How could this have happened? Surely it must be a mistake because who would throw away original artwork?

I was completely amused by her poignant message as this Education Board Member went on to show us that she “walked the walk” and “talked the talk” of early childhood education. She knows from first-hand experience and her own sensitivity that the values we instill in our children are important and our actions need to match those values. (By the way, she confessed to me later that she kept so much of Noah’s artwork, she had run out of storage room, but that she learned a lot from this lesson and would be more discreet in the future.)

How can we teach our children that we DO value their artwork, both at home at school?  Here are a couple of handouts to start the school year out. They make great take-home flyers for parents, or feel free to post them on your school web site. (Click each flyer for a full resolution version)

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In my next post, I’ll be highlighting “Art in the Foyer” and show you inspiring examples of children’s art in school foyers and classrooms. There are many temporary displays of process art experiences that enhance your classroom walls, but permanent or semi-permanent displays also add to your school aesthetics and make a statement about how you value creativity.

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In fact, without much cost at all you can turn your entire school into an Art Gallery full of children’s work. Here are a few creative ideas from Pierce College’s Child Development Center where Director Phyllis Schneider hosts a monthly forum and idea exchange for local Preschool Directors. This abstract feather painting hangs in their meeting room and was easy for children to create with feathers and Colorations® Metallic Activity paints on a large donated canvas.

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Phyllis gave me a tour and introduced me to their art specialist, a lead teacher named Miyuki. Sometimes it only takes one art oriented teacher to make a big difference in your entire school.  Hopefully you have one of those, like Miyuki, and will encourage her to spread her mark throughout your school. Check out some of these inspiring abstract painting examples, which I will talk about more in future posts.

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I hope you have had a great start to the school year. My life has been crazy busy with the back-to-school season, but things are finally settling down, whew! I hope you are settling into your routine as well and finding balance in your life. Remember to take care of yourself, and find time to do what you enjoy. And stay creative to replenish yourself.  Remember that art is one of the only ways you can find yourself and lose yourself at the same time. LOL. Anna

Key Words:

PreK Art, Value of Art, Art in Child Develoment, Parent Handouts, Parent Education, Messy Art, Paint Stains on Clothing,

Materials Used:
Colorations® Metallic Activity Paints

Colorations® Paint
Feathers, assorted pack
Smart Art and More Smart Art Books

* Brought to you by Discount School  Supply®

Creating a Place for Peace: The Quiet Corner

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Children need a place they can retreat to when they need to think, rest, or just decompress. Quiet corners give children a place to calm down and recover from the sensory overload of the classroom.  Do you have a calm and relaxing quiet corner in your classroom? With a fresh new year upon us, it’s a perfect time to create something new or improve your existing “cozy corner.”

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Here are some quiet corners that may give you fresh new ideas to de-stress your classroom. This quiet corner at Pressman Academy includes plants, soft lighting, artwork and soft butterfly pillows. Does it warm your heart? Does it make you feel safe?

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Quiet corners benefit from soft drapery that foster feelings of security and protection. That‘s a key benefit of the My Little Haven Canopy which hangs in Catherine Scott’s Family Child Care.  This product creates an instant quiet corner for just a $50 investment. If you’ve been wanting to create a quiet corner but haven’t had the time, this product is for you, it hangs immediately with no assembly. Just add soft pillows and books….voilà!

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Quiet calm is also provided in reading areas, where soft furniture can encourage rest and relaxation. This reading area is so relaxing, it serves double duty as a quiet corner. A cozy reading space provides children who struggle to focus a quiet place to learn.

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Dr. Becky Bailey, a leading expert on reducing stress in early childhood, just published a new book called I Can Calm. Her book promotion states: “Children who are stressed or upset cannot access the higher brain states necessary to problem-solve or learn. The I Can Calm book includes six simple deep breathing techniques proven to help shut off the fight or flight response.” What a timely book for us all.

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While quiet corners and reading centers provide children with a quiet space to deal with feelings, another calming classroom tool is the sensory table. Soft sensory bin materials provide children with the opportunity to self soothe through tactile stimulation. The sensory bins pictured here are filled with rainbow pom poms and pink Bubber™ with , both sensory products that are good choices for their potential to reduce stress.

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Lastly, here’s the Hideway Log Chair with Cushion, my personal favorite. This unique “cozy pod” comes with a removable “leaf” cushion and folds flat for storage. Like the My Little Haven Canopy above, it transforms any place in your room with a quick calming solution.

Young children often deal with conflict, frustration and over stimulation. Teaching them to take time in a quiet space now to deal with those feelings is a skill they can benefit from now and in the future.

What do YOU do to provide children with message, “I can calm”?  Please share your ideas with us here, so we can all have a more relaxed and stress free 2013.

Jan Blog Take What U Need LOVE

Enjoy a print out of this “Take What You Need” poster and have a wonderful start to the New Year.

Materials Used:
Hideaway Log Chair with Cushion (BURROW)

My Little Haven Canopy (HAVEN)
Woodland 10″ Pillows – set of 6 (WOODPIL)
“Calm-Down Time” Board Book (CALMDOWN)
Medium Best Value Sand and Water Activity Table (LWTAB)

Rainbow Striped Pom Poms – 200 pieces (COLORPOM)
Big Bag O Bubber™ – 30 oz bag (BIG30)

* Brought to you by Discount School  Supply®

Welcome Back! Let’s Start with Art

Welcome back to school! It’s a fresh new school year and the season of beginnings. Many of you already have classrooms filled with eager, bright and often shy new faces. Others are busily preparing for that exciting first day of class. All of us, whether we are teachers, parents or simply “grown ups” who love children are eagerly anticipating a year of joyful learning.

Let’s explore how ART ties in with those first exciting weeks of school.

How do YOU use art to help children engage in your classroom? Here’s a useful handout to send home with parents as school begins – it helps them understand how they can partner with you in using art to help children grow and become their best selves.

Recently I asked a group of seasoned teachers about their favorite “first art project.” Several responded with SELF PORTRAITS, I liked that! But given that there are so many drawing materials to choose from for a self portrait, where is a teacher to begin? I love the use of BOLD permanent markers for early self portraits. Here are some examples of back to school self portraits from Francine Farkas’s 4-year-old class.

Francine gives children bold, permanent markers to draw with so their portraits really “pop” on the page. She keeps these initial self portraits in her children’s Art Portfolios (more on that in a future post) and they will serve as a “baseline” drawing of each child’s development when the year began. Each portrait will be saved and shared at parent/teacher conferences and will serve as a valuable reference point for measuring developmental growth as the year goes by.

Francine mounts each portrait onto construction paper to emphasize the importance of each one and to create an “art gallery” effect. Because her classroom is not so large, she uses the supply door closet as a gallery space.

The teacher next door took a different approach to her “first art” self portraits, still using bold permanent markers so the portraits “pop” on the page, but adding a photograph of each child. Look closely at the clever use of a blank picture frame held by each child in its photograph.

This teacher’s laminated self portraits hang outside her classroom door. What a delightful way for both children and parents to be greeted at the start of each new day.

Teachers in the four-year-old classrooms at Pressman Academy often leave fine tipped, black permanent markers (PERMBLK) out for open-ended drawing, and as a result children create bold pictures with a sense of authority.

One other thing: When I asked my group of seasoned teachers for their favorite “art tip” to start the new year right, they said to offer lots of open ended exploration of art materials right from the start. This included the simplest idea of starting out with easy to use Colorations® tempera cakes (A8TCA) with Colorations® easy grip brushes (EGBRUSH).

And moved on to including unusual sensory art ideas that children would not likely find at home. Such as these rainbow striped pom pom balls (COLORPOM) in a sensory tub (TUBS) which I saw in one classroom, and those same colorful pom poms in another classroom on trays with sea and zoo  sticks (AP632J) and a variety of other pinch grippers. I loved both these applications! And I also imagined several other things we might do with these same colorful, oversized pom poms.

Have a wonderful new year, and don’t forget to stock up on fun new art materials to inspire your students and keep YOU feeling inspired as well.

 
Materials Used:
Sea and Zoo Sticks – set of 4 (AP632J)
 
* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

* For more ideas, visit Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education



Collaborative Art & Inspiration

Sometimes I feel like I work with angels. I just heard the most inspiring Conference Keynote and felt so proud to be a teacher. I was standing in the back of the room, listening to a Superintendent of Education inspire a room full of educators, all readying themselves for the new school year cycle. What’s not to be proud of when you realize how much the world needs good teachers?
I was reminded of this quote:
“Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.” ~ Haim Ginott

With inspiration in mind, I’m posting some of my favorite Collaborative Art ideas to help put you in the mood for a creative summer, and to prepare you for working with your new students this Fall. Collaborative Art can be such unifying, positive group experience, and open-ended art is a great way to bring people together in a feel-good kind of way. 

(CLICK HERE for Inspirational Quotes to download and print)

The teachers from Stephen S. Wise Nursery School are photographed here at a back to school Pre-service, making their own Collaborative Art fabric murals with BioColor®, paint scrapers, and Colorations® Washable Glitter Paints. Incorporating hands-on art into your Pre-service is a good way to start the year off, and reminds teachers about why art making is so important to both intellectual and emotional well being.

Here’s another collection of my favorite Collaborative Art ideas from classrooms I have visited this year. I hope they inspire you to do art in a group setting soon. Please send me YOUR favorite ideas and I’d be happy to include them in a future post.

What a great time to work in education, our challenges are greater than ever and there’s no better time to work in a field that contributes to the well-being of children. Have a good summer and rest well so you can get back into the classroom this Fall and do your best work. And remember to learn to reward yourself for working in a field that makes a positive contribution to the world. Because a teacher really does affect eternity – you will never know where your influence ends.

I know you’ve seen this, but I’ll remind you to remind yourself once again: 

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.” ~ Witcraft

Materials Used in Pre-service Canvas Paintings:  BioColor® Paint – set of 11 (BIO16)
Colorations® Washable Glitter Paint – 16 oz bottle (CGP)
Canvas Art Banner (ARTBAN)
Paint Scrapers – set of 4 (SCR)
Good Times Painting Rollers – set of 6 (FUNROLL)

Materials in Other Photographs:
Liquid Watercolor™ Texas Snowflakes – set of 35 (TEXAS)
Classroom Canvas Quilt – 12 pieces (CLASQLT)
Insta-Snow® (SNO)
Colorations® Ultimate Liquid Watercolor™ Paint Kit (LWKIT3)
Colorations® No-Drip Foam Paint – 8 oz bottle (BFP)

* Brought to you by Discount School Supply®

* For more ideas, visit Art and Creativity in Early Childhood Education