One of the incredible benefits of working in a Reggio-Inspired school and TAB studio is that I get to observe children at work. I, as the teacher and guide, am not the center of the conversation. Whenever possible, I believe it is my role and responsibility to step back and listen.
In my listening and observing this year, I notice that children are finding a lot of inspiration from one another. I see children get inspired by the work of their peers, often borrowing ideas and techniques from one another.
Sometimes I see connections to famous artists we have explored together, even if the last time we looked at their work was months ago.
I started making assumptions based on what I could see, and my understanding was that the children were primarily inspired by friends and famous artists. As I started asking the children where they get their inspiration from, however, their answers were more varied and specific than I could have imagined.
As the children continued working one day, I asked them to speak aloud where they got their inspiration from as the rest of the group listened. They came up with categories like, “nature,” “memories and experiences,” “the imagination,” and “history.”
Our first art show of the year will be on this theme of “Inspiration.” Nearly all of the children in 1st-5th grade self-selected a piece to put in the show. Then, they reflected on where they got their inspiration for the work and chose a the category of inspiration it belongs in.
The show will be up, along with a self guided tour, by our Thanksgiving potluck day next Friday, November 18th. Your child’s teacher may make the self-guided tour an activity that you could complete with your child at the potluck, or it can always be completed with your child before or after school. I hope to see you having a conversation about the art in the hallway one day!