Our kindergarteners attend a Title 1, public school just outside of Washington, DC. Our school is a small, community school that is very child-centered and honors the importance of play, a growth mindset and creating compassionate problem solvers. Our kindergarten team of three teachers learn and grow alongside our students every day. In our three classes of nineteen students each, we represent many different countries and speak a variety of different languages. We celebrate our differences and our similarities as we create our communities and explore our interests, as well as the curriculum, together, through inquiry, play-based and arts integrated instruction.
We are artists, writers, readers, thinkers, mathematicians, play-ers, scientists, problem solvers, wonderers, explorers and friends.
Most of our students are living in poverty and do not have basic art materials such as crayons and paper at home. They have not had opportunities to play and explore with paint, nice paper, pastels and other art supplies. Coming to school is the first opportunity they have had to explore the arts. We want to give them the tools to create magic and to express themselves as only kindergarten artists can.
The kindergarten artists in our classrooms love to explore and express themselves with paint, pastels, found objects, nature treasures, tape, and anything they can create with. They have time every day to explore and to make art of their choosing at our art center. You may find a child busy at work making a mobile with geometric shapes like Alexander Calder, painting the life cycle of a pumpkin, decorating our monarch butterfly cage with pictures, adding painted paper collage pictures to a book just like Eric Carle or painting self portraits while carefully matching skin color. We also have frequent process art projects as invitations to help teach children about a variety of artists' tools and mediums. We study many famous artists in our classroom, alongside famous authors. Our goal is for children to see themselves as artists, illustrators, and authors.
Since children learn and process understandings in so many different ways, it's critical that opportunities are abundant for children to express themselves through the arts, in addition to other means of expression.
Through the arts, children can experience the content areas in a variety of ways and deepen their understanding, while encouraging creativity and learning.
I'm requesting a variety of supplies and materials including Crayola fingerpaints, Sax watercolors, pastels and quality art paper. Having access to these quality art supplies will allow our students to truly experience art as another way to learn in our classroom. It will allow them to choose materials they need, to explore using new art tools, to take risks and to express themselves through the visual arts.
With the materials this grant will fund, our students will be able to have an art studio to support their learning through the arts and their creativity as they create and make meaning in their lives.
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