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.