We have unveiled a new workspace in Ballincollig in the last few weeks – Cheeky Cherubs’ own school studio, laboratory and art workshop. It is fast becoming one of the most beloved spaces in the centre. This space was inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach in Italy and the “atelier” they have set up in each of their schools, visited by Michele, Sarah and Janine on separate study trips to Italy. The Art Exhibition we held in June this year and the importance the children put on their work also motivated us to put it into practice.
Since the late ‘60s in the municipal preschools of Reggio Emilia each school has a space called the atelier and the figure of the atelierista, a “teacher” with an arts background. The Atelier becomes the place of research, invention, and empathy. The intent of the atelier in these schools, is to provide children with the opportunity to explore and connect with a variety of media and materials. The studios are designed to give children time, information, inspiration and materials so that they can effectively express their understanding through “100 different languages”
In “The Studio” here in Ballincollig, the children will have opportunities to paint and draw, explore, experiment and use their imaginations, by manipulating the variety of materials provided for open ended discovery.
We have a huge resource of traditional materials and equipment such as; paints, brushes, papers and pencils which can be used on the table, the easel, the floor and even the window. Children will have the opportunity to learn at their own level, based on their own emerging interests. We integrate academic skills and tools in all areas, including pre-writing and literacy, maths, science and fine motor skills.
Sarah, who has a degree in Fine Art, is initially taking the preschool children out in small groups to introduce and explore with them in this new space. She is documenting the journey using photos, videos and the children’s art pieces. The aesthetics are breath-taking and the use of materials and presentations are extraordinary. Thoughtful design has a big influence on children’s learning and behaviour and how they interact with their environment so we have taken a lot of time and effort to make sure everything is right. It is however, always going to be an active workspace and we hope that in time it will have its own personality once the children and educators have made their mark on it.
This is a very exciting process so please ask your children all about it and watch the TV monitor for more updates!