This Fall we are piloting not only Story Play (10:30am) but Materials Lab at the Red Hook Public Library! Our materials lab from 12pm - 2pm is a chance for children ages 3-5 to explore a wide and beautiful range of natural and recycled materials in an open-ended way, and to collaborate with other children and arts education professionals on a series of meaningful art and story projects.
We at Find & Seek wanted to offer a session that was A. FREE (because so few young children in the city have the opportunity to do open-ended project time, especially children in low income communities) and B. Long enough in duration (ie: 2 hours), so that the session could foster deep and meaningful connections, which can only come with time. We have noticed that so often art classes for children are short enough (45 minutes - 1 hour) that children, upon getting comfortable and "in the zone" of creating, then have to begin cleaning up to go to their next class, or home.
We invite children to use materials as “loose parts” in meaningful play scenarios. We encourage dreaming big and finding creative solutions, so that children’s divergent thinking can develop at a healthy pace. We nurture deep connections to the whole child and the whole family.
The children’s constructions serve as props in their play, and then intuitive and authentic play develop within the context of a thoughtfully designed environment. Attending to process, we pose questions, listen closely to children’s original stories, document with images, video and text, and reflect with children on their learning and curiosity. This reflection becomes the springboard for our next round of finding and seeking. We support a multitude of expressive vocabularies from playing to dreaming and making in nature.