Children of preschool age are very active members of any society. During their earlier stages of development they enjoy playing and adventuring to explore their surrounding. In their attempt to discover their environment they subconsciously develop art activities such as drawing, crayon-etching and modeling. These creative activities not only make children to grow up as open minded people but also help them develop cognitive, social and motor skills that are vital for the wellbeing of any individual in a society. Such skills enable a teacher to identify the kind of a child she or he is dealing with as they help to boost among other things their creativity, self esteem and mastery of content as result of developing brain capacity. The process of developing these skills can at times be chaotic as children may make their environment, for instance; classroom disorganized and untidy. This in turn can be hazardous to them as they play. Taking into account that the above skills are fundamental in the development of a child it is important to design a class in such away that preschoolers enhance their skills safely. This can be well achieved by creating a class-studio as known as class gallery. This paper therefore aims at describing art studio including elements required, space, sensory experiences, beautiful and creative experiences, time space and materials for making art, artists and a variety of art forms and style in mathematics and science curriculum.
A preschool classroom school should be partitioned into small sections known as centers. According Englebright, and Berry, (2010) “preschool classroom consist of seven such centers which include: section for block, art, science, dramatic play, music, library and mathematics”. The above mentioned sections should be organized based on the theory of Maria Montessori that emphases that a preschool classroom has to take into consideration the size of a child (Englebright, and Berry, 2010). All the furniture has to be made to their size to make them comfortable. These varieties of sections in a preschool classroom make up an art-studio.
A class art-studio is a designated part of the class where children enjoy fun as they create and interact with art images with the aim of inspiring them to learn (Englebright, and Berry, 2010).
An art-studio for mathematics and science should comprise of Masterpiece Reproduction elements which are used to enhance learning among preschoolers. These reproduction elements such as posters can be bought or be obtained cheaply from old calendars, magazines, stationery and newspapers. In order to support learning, reproductive materials can be used for various purposes which include; indicating gender on the restroom and also on bulletin board to accompany important information such as displays of mathematics units. Some reproductive materials have specific functions. For example Jean Simeon Chardin’s Soap Bubbles is made purposely to be laid on water table while Piet Mondrian is used to demonstrate focus on primary colours or shapes. In mathematics section reproductive materials may include shapes representing squares, rectangle, triangles and circles. While in science these reproductive materials may contain drawings of different animal, and plants including their body parts. To improve their visibility they are shaded with crayons or different colours. Masterpiece as visual aids enables preschoolers to connect theoretical information with reality easily as opposed to information passed in abstract that encourage memorization instead of understanding. This is because the preschoolers can interact with them in their daily learning processes.
While designing an art-studio for preschoolers it is important to consider space availability. The space chosen should allow a science table to fit in while still allowing a teacher to monitor other children across the room in the block center from the same science table. The space should not only encourage movement but also allow the children to change from one activity to the next without interfering with the work of classmates. This space should give room to children to mount their work with ease. The boundaries should be clearly marked using shelving units and coluored duct tape to curb migration of blocks from block area to art center. This in turn provides the teacher with the opportunity to monitor activities of the learners effectively. Each section should have a sign hanging with writings indicating science and mathematics centers respectively. This will help the children to avoid confusion as they will be able identify activities carried out in every station.
The role of art-studio in a child’s development cannot be underestimated. An art development enhances cognitive development in science and mathematics among other areas. This is because it encourages preschoolers to learn through discovery by exploring their surrounding. Kamii and Devries (1993) as quated by Englebright and Berry, (2010) explains that learning is best done through exploration as it enables children to synchronize knowledge on objects in their world. He therefore suggests that the activities should be child-centered. During this prudent exercise, a teacher might suggest the themes to the children therefore she or he should avoid the temptations to restrict the children that would in turn interfere with c creativity. The aim is to produce an open-minded learner. The activities should provide the children with the opportunity to make personal decisions and self evaluations among other qualities.
According to Klein (1991) as quoted by Englebright and Berry, (2010) explains the four decisions that a child make in during any art work. They include deciding on what their art will portray, media to use, the speed with which to complete their project and finally the mode of evaluating their work. Evaluation of the children’s creativity and learning process is based on their preferences and positive comments from people around them. As they continue to grow and develop, sensory skills in children widen beyond mere exploration by use of senses but start integrating symbols in their work. In mathematics such symbols may represent various numbers or formulae while in science they can be used to represent certain animals or different body parts. These drawings and symbols are vital as they provide the preschoolers with basis of future use of different words as symbol of objects or figures in learning mathematics and science. This improves level of understanding and mastery of concepts in these subjects.
Apart from developing cognitive skills there are also beautiful and creative experiences that a child encounters in an art-studio. An aesthetic value of art drawings plays a significant role in inspiring the children towards a given career in life. For instance, a picture of human body parts can inspire and motivate a child to develop interest in medicine. In addition, continuous practice in drawing can make a child a good artist as a child get emotional appeal during the process.
Art studio is quite important in the development of children’s learning process as well as creativity. Studio helps in creating an all sided people. In this regards, schools and teacher should strive to not only to create art studio but also guide the children.