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Certified PreK-6. Masters in Child Development. Advocate for play, teacher & children choice, & the family's voice. Believe in volunteering as social justice.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Beauty is a Side-Effect

Fair warning, this post has been sitting in my draft folder since November.  NOVEMBER!  It's been a very busy and exhausting year as evident by the fact that I never seem to post anymore.  Ever.  I chalk it up to the vast amount of documentation I do for school and the juggling of jobs I do.

Anyway...it is once again time for the #Kinderchat Summer Blog Challenge and that generally sends me on a bit of a blogging spree.  As luck would have it, the first challenge is to put a post out there that has been left in the shadows and I'm also preparing for a presentation on collaborative art that I will be giving later this summer...as they say, serendipity.

One of the things I've enjoyed the most about my new school is that we have a studio; a room dedicated to making messes, connections, and often beauty.  The studio is a symbol for a collective, underlying belief in the arts as a way for children to share their ideas and to build relationships, both with other humans and with the materials themselves.  As a staff, we like beautiful things.  We lovingly and intentionally collect materials for our classrooms, displaying them with the utmost care to create invitations of wonder.  We place a lot of value on the children's work and take care to document the process and results.

But, you know what?  The beauty is a side-effect.  An afterthought to a much larger and more important process.  It is the process of mess making, of mistake making, of collaboration that goes into the work; these are the reasons I get up and go to work every day.  It is in building relationships with the materials that the children are learning a trade, a craft, an appreciation.  It is in trying a processes over and over and over again that the children are learning persistence, a drive to always learn and build on skills.  It is through working in collaboration with other children, teachers, and families that the children are learning about working towards a common goal, of community and shared ideas, of not always having the final word.  It is through the act of looking deeply and closely at the details that the children are learning to slow down, to look beyond the first thought, to question.

We create a lot of beautiful things in our day to day work.  We also create a lot of things that are not so beautiful.  And that's okay too, because the beauty is a side-effect, not the end game.


  1. "Beauty is a side effect, not the end game" - wonderful philosophy. I think that could apply to many things we do with kids.

    1. Thanks, Scott! I think you're right; the same idea is true throughout the day.

  2. I miss teaching art with K/1 (that was my ancillary duty at the private school); because I had two sinks in that classroom, we weren't afraid to use different mediums and explore to the point of messiness!

    Now that I'm in a K classroom with zero access to water, etc.,- and lets not forget the time frame mandate of each discipline- I haven't been brave enough to add more art into our days. BUT! I'm exploring how to provide a genius hour concept to our learning and I hope to provide lots of creative tools to our choices!

    Have a great summer, Meg!
    Chrissy at ReadWriteSing

    1. Thanks, Chrissy! I know that I am spoiled by the spaces to make messes in my little school, but know that the idea of the focus on the process can be found in any setting.

  3. Oh, how I love messes! The learning that so often occurs within them. Love your wrap up statement!