The Early Years
Updated: Oct 12, 2021
We have to start at the beginning if we want to build something different
The Role of Aesthetics in Learning
The role of art in Reggio Emilia schools is viewed differently. It doesn’t perceive art time as craft making with the purpose of bringing home a finished project. Instead art is viewed as tool for communication and learning. Children draw to learn as opposed to learn to draw. In Reggio Emilia preschools, art is the top priority and children are provided with various art media such as high quality paints, charcoal pencils, felt-tipped pens, pastels, and tools for modeling clay to create their work.
It is encouraged to expose children to various art media at a very young age so that they have time to explore and become familiar with them. After age three, once they have explored these materials in a sensory way, they have developed the skills necessary to produce more in depth work. Teachers show respect for their abilities and display their work on classroom walls at the children's' height. In Reggio Emilia classrooms, children are also encouraged to explore their ideas using more than one medium. Art experiences are cumulative, so that they are first asked to draw an image and then they use clay to create a 3-D model. Representing ideas in more than one medium promotes critical thinking, spatial awareness and problem-solving skills.
So next time you offer art to a child, be intentional with the materials you offer as well as take the time to slow down and enjoy the process of creating.