Following on from my recent post about Learning Communities, I wanted to tell you about one of the premiere community building events I established at our child care centre – the Annual Art Gallery and Market.
This was a wonderful event that involved the children, the educators, the families and the extended community. It was an opportunity to build a sense of community, an opportunity to educate our community about our learning program, an opportunity for our children to showcase what they could do, and it was also a successful fundraiser.
A lovely display of flower fairy dresses including individual dresses created from collage materials and displayed in wooden frames and a collaborative group work costume displayed on the mannequin (3-4 year olds).
Each classroom and learning area would be decorated with wonderful displays of the children’s artwork. These would be annotated with the educator’s documentation about the learning processes involved in the creation of the artwork and photographs of the children involved in the making and doing.
Ballerinas in training: The children’s real life drawings of their peers modelling dance related poses were photocopied and collage costumes added. (4-5 year olds)
In the months prior to the Art Gallery, educators would squirrel away beautiful individual and group art projects related to current investigations so that family members did not see them until the big event. Paintings, drawings, sculpture, collage, photo displays, computer generated art were all represented. Educators were commited to ensuring that every child had art on display.
Blast Off: Tile Mosaic Rocket drawn and tiled by 2-3 year olds.
We would invite local businesses to set up market stalls throughout the Centre and grounds. Their entry ‘fee’ to be included in the market was the donation of a raffle prize. We baked gingerbread men to sell. And each class would create a collaborative artwork on canvas (that involved all of the children from that class) which would be auctioned off in a silent auction.
Wombat Stew anyone?: A literature based investigation which included painting on canvas and using modelling clay to make bugs and grubs. (3-4 year olds)
As well as sending out invitations to all of our current families, we would also invite the families still on our waiting list to come and see and share in our celebration, this was a wonderful way for them to see the Centre and better understand our philosophy and approach to learning.
Following the children’s spontaneous play involving teepees, the educator introduced experiences exploring textile design and the role of motifs in communicating meaning, the children painted their own fabric designs (at top). The investigation also included jewellry making stemming from resource books about American Indians (at bottom). (4-5 year olds)
I would love to hear about the community building events that your preschool, kindergarten, school or child care centre hosts. What works for you? How are parents and families involved? What are the objectives for your event? Feel free to share by leaving a comment below.