What is the role of the parent or guardian during your art classes, for example Creating Together?
My intension is to offer a safe and structured environment for parents or guardians, to have an opportunity to observe their children engage in the art of doing and learning. As your child explores her developing capacities, hand-eye development, delight in exploring colors, materials and stories; you are invited to experience the joy. When raising children there is nothing more valuable than being offered an opportunity observe your child as she develops. Observation enables the adult to truly see their child. Children thrive when they are seen. I ask that all parents/caretakers to put your cell phones away, and save sidebar conversations for before or after class and enter into the wonder of the environment and see their children with reverence and awe
What should we wear to classes at A Place to Create?
Shoes are always required at A Place to Create. I tell the children “this is a real art studio and things fall on the ground that could hurt your feet.” With that said – I also suggest wearing shoes that the children can easily move about. My classes are designed to nurture small motor skills as well as the gross motor, so there is always movement offered during classes. Sensible shoes assist the children in healthy physical development as well as supporting gross motor skills.
My child is super verbal and has an amazing attention span; can I enroll her in the three-year-old class, even though she is only 2.5 years old?
Please do not do this. I offer a developmental education with a carefully designed curriculum that supports the developing young child. As human beings we all have developed capacities and sleeping capacities, especially the young child. It is a wonderful experience for children to experience their strengths during a class, while having their lesser-developed capacities challenged.
What is a developmental curriculum?
As an educator I offer a child centered curriculum. This means the daily rhythm of the child is built on carefully chosen activities that nurture the whole child: the physical, emotional, social and creative development of your child. I am educated in the Waldorf teaching method and honors Rudolf Steiner’s picture of the developing child.
Is it all right if my child brings toys to A Place to Create?
The classes are designed to nurture the small motor and gross motor development. If a child is holding on to a toy is inhibits her ability to do all the tasks offered, and therefore isn’t getting the full benefit of the class. However, I am aware that children can be very attached to a toy, almost as a Talisman, to help them move through the modern, over stimulating world. Going to a class in the beginning can be daunting and even scary for a young child. If their toy helps to comfort them Ms Molly is always willing to work with that, honoring the child’s emotional space.
What kind of art materials do you use in your program? Are the materials that you use non-toxic?
I use very high quality art materials. We offer Stockmar paint and bees wax crayons, Lyra pencil crayons, 100% rag paper and Crayola air-dry clay. The pigment in the paint is high quality so it may stain the skin for a short time and it will stain clothing. I do provide aprons for children. Please bring your child in clothing that you don’t mind getting stained. Again, these are art classes, so it is wise to wear clothing that you would wear to create in: clothing that is comfortable, durable, and can get dirty and stained without issue.
It looks like you use art materials that are very tiny. Are these materials a chocking hazard?
Yes, I use small object to create with because I call myself a small motor enthusiast. I want the children to have plenty of opportunity to use their small motor skills. Fine motor skills and eye hand coordination foundational to all writing skills. Therefore I offer materials of all shapes and sizes, with as many texture as I can find that can stimulate healthy brain development as well as nurture their physical and neural development. These materials could be a risk if they were offered in an unsupervised setting. At a Place to Create, the classes are offered for a parent or guardian as well as the child so there is plenty of supervision.
My child doesn’t seem to be able to do what you ask, is this class not a good fit?
I design the curriculum for my classes to nurture the physical, emotional and sensorial development of the child. I offer tasks and activates that will be easy, challenging and difficult. This is an intentional design so that the children can experience success as well as have an opportunity to strive and accomplish something more challenging.
I believe all children can thrive in the classes offered at A Place to Create. Sometimes quickly, sometimes gradually, and there is no judgment-attached to the children as they develop at A Place to Create. It is not possible to succeed or fail at A Place to Create. Growth and exploration are the objective of the activities so that it is the act of “doing” of being engaged that matters. This is the core of a developmentally sensitive curriculum
Should I encourage my child to do the things she cannot do during class?
There is no need to physically or verbally assist or reassure in the process of the activity. Use the opportunity and the time at A Place to Create to enjoy observing your child’s growth. Children love to achieve and grow. When their development is aligned to a task they will do it. Children love to learn to do things and then feel the joy of mastery, both experiences are very important in development The feelings children have when they are learning are critical to their sense of who they are and confidence to try, persevere and initiate. The whole process brings them delight. Learning is circular, not linear, so children embrace a moment of mastery and then are eager to move through the cycle again and connect to new experiences. You don’t have to “teach” any of the activities at Ms Molly’s. Children learn through imitation and as they develop they will imitate what is before them.
We love to take your classes with friends but our children have a difficult time focusing when they are together?
Yes, children who take classes with their friends may find it hard to focus on the curriculum being offered. It is because when friends are present it means play time, instead of class time, which is all they understand. If your child takes classes with friends at A Place to Create, then the children learn that when they are with their friends it is not always playtime and can learn to celebrate “work” time from playtime. If your child takes classes without their friends the experience is different, in that your child is able to focus on the tasks and opportunities offered by Ms Molly. It is a more focuses experience on the curriculum. Both experiences are valid but it is an invitation for the parent to consider what type of experience they want for their child.
I notice that you classes can be very quiet and peaceful, why is that?
My intention is to offer a space for the children to explore the world of stories, color and materials in an environment that nurtures exploration. I believe quiet nurtures their experience. Children learn through their senses, so if the level on noise is decreased and kept relative to the energy of the activity then their other senses are more readily available to be engaged in full explore. This highlights the reason why I ask parents to model the same philosophy of the program so at story time, for example the parents listen with the same focus as the children My gentle approach with children enables them to hear the direction and understand the intended gesture of my request.
How do you get the children to follow you and do what you ask?
I am confident that what I am asking children to do nurtures healthy development in your children. Therefore my requests are not choices. My requests are clear and simple. I ask for them to follow with confidence and they do. While I hear and honor your child’s opinion and feelings about my request, your child feels safe knowing I am leading them in a way that will hold their experience safely. This kind of teaching nurtures the child’s self esteem, because they are engaging in activities freely while following a clear directive and knowing they are safe, even if things may get hard at times.
I notice that you are a Waldorf teacher, are your classes just like a Waldorf School?
I am a Waldorf teacher and I design my curriculum based on my understanding of Rudolf Steiner’s picture of the developing child. I have also taught Creative Development for the Young Child at the college level. So I weave together my knowledge of mainstream creative developmental approach with Steiner’s curriculum to include activities that are not offered in a formal Waldorf School and go more deeply into the child’s creative experience and opportunities to engage their imagination than in many more traditional preschool programs and play based programs I have chosen to do this with the belief that I can nurture the developing child though artistic activities. I am able to support all children; those who will continue in Waldorf while meeting children that will benefit from my approach but might not attend a Waldorf school in the future.