By Maria Ezcurra

During the winter semester two sections of The Kindergarten Classroom participated in workshops with our artist in residence, Maria Ezcurra, at the Art Hive.

One of the course topics covered during the semester includes the theme of: Aesthetics and the Arts for Young Children. A “loose parts” workshop was organized in order for our pre-service teachers to experience open-ended materials and the provocation of the arts in consideration to children’s learning as a whole.

The participants engaged in artful play whereby materials and the environment were made available to be interpreted, and connected according to various provocations (e.g. sound, movement, design, connecting and disconnecting). Providing meaning to “loose parts” required students to consider the possibilities of how a child learns and ponders over the materials and environment he/she uses.

GrowingAwareness3Each group of students involved themselves in concrete experiences using ‘loose parts”; an interactive and hands-on exploration that occurred naturally, as opposed to adult directed. It is in this free exploration and creation that adults can observe children’s concrete ways of thinking and doing, or as Erickson put it, adults can see the child’s “natural genius of childhood and their spirit of place” (Erickson, 1996, p.2).

Our “loose parts” workshop created endless possibilities and invited creativity. The workshop concluded whereby students reflected on their image of the young child. They transferred their considerations by creating a flower, or plant, to add to the visual garden on the first floor of the Education Building: A Kinder Garden!

-Sheryl Smith-Gilman