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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.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Curation of Ideas

A couple of weekends ago I went to the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute.  Surrealism isn't generally my favorite type of art, but I can appreciate the deliberate oddness of it, and my dear friend loves the exhibit and we were downtown...so as they say...happenstance!

As we walked through the exhibit, I began to notice the walls and partitions that were put in place to display the art.  There was a sense of obscurity behind the arrangement.  Rather than paintings being hung side-by-side on four walls, the walls were moved so that the viewers walked through a maze of sorts, encountering different paintings from different perspectives.  At one point, there were partitions set up in a row, down the middle of a long hallway (think dominos) with one painting on each wall so that you could see 5 or 6 partial paintings if you looked at an angle, but in order to see an individual painting you had to stand between two partitions, obscuring everything else.

As my friend and I left the exhibit, she turned to me and mentioned how the curation of an exhibit is an art itself. Picture my mind being blown, because of course she's absolutely right.

I then begin to draw parallels between the curation of an exhibit and what I do in my little classroom, because in the care and intention that I put into the environment I too am curating ideas.  As a teacher in a play-based environment, my job is to reflect on the children and their interests and to very carefully set up a space that invites exploration.  It is my job to make observations and to document the children's ideas and the life of the classroom.  It is my job to find beauty in nature and in loose parts and in the everyday and introduce it to the children.  It is my job to invite children to explore the unexpected and startling.  It is my job to help the children find and celebrate their own quirks, ideas, and discoveries.

I am in the business of curating ideas. And it is a wonderful business to be in.