Discovery: Preschool Art Classes at the Library KLA 2014 Presentation

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1 Discovery: Preschool Art Classes at the Library KLA 2014 Presentation Susan Bryant, Outreach Librarian Morrill Public Library Oregon - Hiawatha, KS Planning and Theme Ideas A short history of the Discovery art program! Originated by Ginny Graves and Pat Rogers in 1970 at the Johnson County Library. JCL s program included art, music, movement, and reading. Throughout the early 70 s, Ms. Graves and others presented at workshops and conferences around the state to show librarians how to start their own local preschool art programs. The Discovery Art program at Morrill Public Library in Hiawatha was inspired by this, and has operated continually from these origins for nearly 40 years! Why is Art Important? Why Art at the Library? Hands-on arts and crafts for preschoolers have long been a staple at Library Storytimes. Here are two excellent articles that talk about art and early literacy. CLEL article How Storytime Crafts Can Support Early Literacy CLEL article Benefits of Crafts in Library Storytimes But I m not an Art teacher! And I m not either! Two books I found useful when first assigned to teach our Discovery program were Art for the Fun of It by Peggy Davison Jenkins and Art - Learning Through Play: A Practical Guide for Teaching Young Children edited by Nancy-Jo Hereford and Jane Schall. Both books have a nice balance of the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching. Also, it was helpful to me to think about each lesson as an art-based storytime. I already knew how to plan and implement a fun program that includes books, movement, and hands-on activities... and so do you!

2 My goals for Discovery... Create an environment where children will have joyful hands-on experiences with books and art materials Introduce basic art concepts to children (imagination, color, shape, and more) Provide art projects that allow room for the child s creative expression (art vs crafts) When possible, find art projects that include a theme or other element from the last book we have read to encourage story retelling Find games, movement activities, and music to reinforce the day s theme Introduce the children to famous art Provide activities that help children practice following 2-and 3-step directions, become better observers, and practice problem solving! How we run our program... Promote Discovery on the Library s website, Facebook page, and through radio and newspaper releases (see Attachment 1) Hold two 12-week sessions (spring and fall) For kids age 3-5 years old but not yet in school Classes held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays Sign up sheet at the Children s Circulation desk (with waiting list) No more than 12 kids per class (if enough on waiting list, have 2 sessions) $20 enrollment fee (see enrollment form - Attachment 2 and parent note - Attachment 3) Two staffers Graduation final class session

3 Typical One Hour Session... For the first 15 minutes, we greet the children and engage them in building and creative play or a group art project. The toys we like best are ones that can be used in many ways: wooden blocks, connecting shapes, stacking and sorting toys. The teachers sit on the floor and play with the children, talking with them, modeling imaginative uses for the simple toys, and drawing and extending ideas the children have. Group art projects have included cutting out pictures from seed and flower magazines to make a large color wheel, drawing and cutting out fish to glue on an ocean scene, and purple crayon drawing on a large piece of butcher paper. Next, we put the toys away and the children sit in a circle for sharing time. Each child gets to show and talk about one picture they ve drawn. The teachers ask questions as needed to encourage the child. Here is a good article with ways to talk to kids about their art. This is followed by Storytime focusing on a specific art concept. This can include books, games, music, clipboard drawing time, and more. It usually lasts about 20 minutes. Themes Imagination; Senses; Primary and Secondary Colors; Mixing Colors; Shapes; Lines; Light, Dark, and Shade; Opposites; Texture; Balance Then we go to the art tables for an open-ended art project for the final 15-ish minutes. For those children who finish early, we always have a second project available: free-drawing time, playdough, or collage materials and glue. At the end of the session, the parents come into the Discovery room to pick up their child. The child takes home his or her Discovery bag, which includes a note describing the day s lesson (see Attachment 4).

4 Attachment 1 Discovery Class Sample News Release Promoting the program FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Bryant, Outreach Librarian Morrill Public Library Spring Discovery Class Morrill Public Library is now accepting enrollment for its Spring Discovery class. Classes will begin (Date). Discovery is a 12-week art program for children 3-5 years of age. The program is designed to stimulate a child's creativity, imagination, and self-expression through a variety of art activities involving color, line, shape, size, texture, and more. Activities include painting, drawing, collage, dramatic play, games, and story-time. The enrollment fee for Discovery is $20 per child. Parents may enroll their children at the library or by calling Promoting Library Facebook page Library website Flyers at Library Newspaper and radio station

5 Attachment 2 Discovery Enrollment Form Child s Name: Age: Parent(s) Name: Address: Home phone: Emergency contact phone number (during Discovery time): Does your child have food allergies or other conditions the teachers should know about?: Publicity Release: I give my permission for the use of pictures, photographs, and informational material that may include my child, his/her name, and his/her activities during Discovery in Morrill Public Library publicity. I understand that such publicity release may be used in newspapers, Library website, Library bulletin boards, and Discovery promotions. I agree: Yes No Parent s Signature Date: Enrollment fee ($20) paid:

6 Attachment 3 (letter mailed to parents prior to program start) August 28, 2014 Hello! We are looking forward to the beginning of Discovery class! Classes start Tuesday, September 9, and will meet from 9:30-10:30 a.m. In the event of bad weather, our policy will be to cancel Discovery if the public schools are closed. Each week the children have a short lesson, a hands-on art project, storytime, playtime, and lots of fun. As always, we will be experimenting with many different art materials, so we encourage the children to wear clothes they don t mind getting messy. Please fill out the enclosed enrollment form and bring it to the first day of class. The class fee of $20 is payable on or before the first day of class. Sincerely, Susan and Debbie Morrill Public Library

7 Attachment 4 Sample parent note Discovery Week One Imagination Each week at Discovery we focus on a theme and do an art project to put the theme into action. Sometimes we will just experiment with new techniques and materials, so don t worry if your child s art doesn t look like anything specific! The bag contains a sketch book and crayons so the children can extend their art experiences into the week if they wish. Please have your child bring their sketch book to Discovery each week. We will have a sharing time at the beginning of each session for the children who want to show and talk about one picture they have made. This week our theme was imagination. We read several books including: Not a Box by Antionette Portis 2 is for Dancing by Woodleigh Hubbard Andrew s Amazing Monsters by Kathryn Berlan Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley Our art project was making monster faces. The children had many choices of shapes to glue on to make unique features! Optional activities included: Free drawing time Roll-the-dice monster move game

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