Having studied and admired the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Education for many years, I started working as an Atelierista at Pumpkin Patch Nursery in Hove in June 2019.
My role is to work with all of the age groups, helping them explore, develop and document their thoughts and ideas through arts practice. As a co-investigator rather than a 'teacher' I am responsible for observing and listening to the children very carefully in order to spot themes and connections in their work and play, for making their learning visible and for ensuring that their environment and materials are stimulating and safe.
My practice as an atelierista is rooted in the belief that young children are expressive, competent, natural learners and that their capacity for makeing their own meaning is a valuable and resilient quality. I take great joy in sourcing open ended, intelligent materials and in sharing my own collections of books, postcards and objects with the children. I am endlessly fascinated by the dialogue I share with them.
The images on this page are from my documentation of our 2019-2020 pre-school project. We started by exploring portraiture and the art of posing then moved through explorations of drawing, stories, costume, colour theory, sound, puppets, shadow theatre and stop motion animation as the children created their own micro-culture. By the end of the year we had galleries of their images in the atelier and classroom, their songs and stories playing on the stereo and their films projected onto the wall. They were the creators and stars of their own art and entertainment, each of them represented as a powerful being.
Above: A colour wheel of shades mixed by the children that I made for our end of year project book.
Above: Expressive self-portraits
Above: A "story drawing" used to explore illustration and narrative.
Assemblage: A Dark Blue Button Rainbow by Leni, who found that he could make a rainbow using just his favourite colour.
Above: A page from the Making Ourselves book, documenting some of the children's shadow puppets.
Above: A page from the Making Ourselves book, documenting some of the children's model making and assemblage for stop motion animation.