The ART of Learning
Influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, Metro United Way's Excellence Academy early learning centers are dedicated to constantly providing unique learning opportunities for our children to thrive. Kim Frazier-Pirog, Director of Side by Side Studio, recently visited two of our centers, Keystone Learning Academy and the Southwest Family YMCA, to bring a joyful learning experience through playing with art. In the Reggio approach, the classroom is thought of as the "third teacher" and includes elements like neutral colors, home-like touches and natural materials.
"I decided to bring something simple yet different," she explained. "I chose an activity to create an art project that involves cutting herb collages and wild flowers."
Through this activity, the children were able to use their creativity, discovery and problem solving skills. One child seemed puzzled that they could cut some stems but not others. Previously Kim had explained to another child that the thicker stems were harder to cut; now he quickly stepped up and shared his new knowledge with his curious friend!
"The children did a great job learning from each other and bouncing their ideas back and forth," Kim reported. "This project's uniqueness is always a big hit and draws children in, giving me ideas with future projects."
Observing what children know, what they are curious about and what challenges them is at the core of the Reggio approach. With explorative learning activities, children developed important skills that demonstrate focus, collaboration and open-mindedness. Exposing the kids to activities like this in our Excellence Academy classrooms will ultimately prepare them to enter kindergarten ready to learn so that they succeed in school and in life.