Let’s Talk…3D Art
One of my favorite parts of my job is teaching Environmental Rating Scale classes. I enjoy helping early childhood professionals take a thorough look at their program using a research-based tool and then supporting them in developing a plan to make quality changes. One of the topics we seem to frequently have a discussion on is allowing children to extend art activities over several days and displaying three-dimensional pieces of art done by the children. Some of the barriers that teachers and providers mention is children wanting to take their work home, concern for other children destroying the work, and not enough classroom space to display.
I had a preschool teacher decide she was wasn’t going to let the challenges be barriers – this was something she could give her best effort and see how it goes. She came back the next week thrilled with the results! She didn’t make it a project all children had to participate in, so space wasn’t too much of an issue. Yet she found as children watched friends over the course of several days work on their art, most all children participated. She had a conversation with the group about respecting each others’ hard work and her hope that they could leave work in the classroom a few days without it being damaged, and said she found this wasn’t an issue at all. The children seemed to value the work done by others and had many conversations around their work. This teacher even found a special red table covering to help the work stand out!
I had the pleasure of meeting one of the authors of the Environmental Rating Scales, Thelma Harms, during a visit to Iowa State University campus. She shared that as a child she did not excel at flat art that was typically displayed, but enjoyed 3D art like working with clay or sculpting. Sometimes for convenience sake we overlook celebrating a child’s individual strengths and gifts! If it hasn’t been a part of your usual art activities, I hope you will give some 3D art a try (something with height, width, and depth), perhaps allow the project to extend over a few days, and then proudly display it in your program!
P.S. Any favorite 3D art activities to share? Any tips for overcoming what might be seen as hurdles to allowing and displaying 3D art? Hope you will share! http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/childcare/3d-art/