May 4, 2011 - May 28, 2011
Collaboration between young children, local artists, and educators
Young children aged one to five years from 17 children’s programs in Hamilton will see their theories and perceptions reflected in an exhibit at the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts. The Artists at the Centre project brings eight local artists into child care and family resource centres to support the children as they become more articulate in using art media as languages. The project is inspired by world-renowned programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Artists at the Centre - Making Thinking Visible is funded by Ontario Early Years, the City of Hamilton, Best Start, and Today's Family.
Artists Jason Avery, Dawn White Beatty, Judi Burgess, Kathy Cope, Monica Didur, Kelly Jonathan, Marla Panko and Joan Urquhart spend one or two half-days each week with the children and early childhood educators in McMaster Children's Centre, Umbrella Family and Child Centres in Templemead, Ancaster Meadow, Lawfield, Ray Lewis, and Gatestone Schools, Today’s Family Children's Centres in Hamilton and Dundas, Together for Families at Mohawk College and three other Ontario Early Years Centres.
A newer facet of the project, Making Thinking Visible, takes place at five of the Best Start preschool programs, located in the following elementary schools: Elizabeth Bagshaw, Cathy Wever, Hillcrest, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and in Niwasa Early Learning and Child Care Centre .
The process of the collaboration between children, educators, and artists is documented through photos and transcribed conversations. This documentation is displayed with the artwork, allowing the viewers to see the power of children’s thinking. The results challenge traditional assumptions about the potential and competence of young learners. Artists Jason Avery and Kathy Cope, project coordinator Karyn Callaghan, and other community leaders recently returned from a study week in Reggio Emilia that focused on the role of relationships and pedagogical documentation. Interest in this approach has now spread to many kindergarten classrooms in Ontario.