" Every week Sam learns something new at Playgroup and tries it at home."
For young children learning is a creative process. It is also organic. They grow their knowledge informally through imitation and trial by error. In their early years learning is a great source of joy. They are eager to practice new knowledge and understandings; they work to apply these in new ways and in new situations.
One example of building on experiences is the ongoing exploration we are doing of a tree limb. The first week the children painted the branch and all its limbs. While painting they needed to look over, under and around the branches to spy areas that needed more paint. The second week we supplied tubes which the children enjoyed slipping over the branches. It was as though they were "dressing" the tree. Last week, we removed the tubes from the limb and placed the limb upright in a jar with sand. The children painted the tubes and could then climb a stepladder and reach out and place their tubes on a branch. The children were careful climbing the step ladder. They liked the challenge. How capable they felt!
This session's theme, "Color and Texture," guides how we choose materials and design experiences for your children. In any given activity we like to offer contracting materials. Children will be painting and drawing on a variety of surfaces, making prints in clay with various objects, and constructing with metal objects to make designs and express the idea of "face."
This session the children are exploring the idea of weaving by making things stay on/in a weaving structure made of chicken wire. In order to introduce the idea of weaving we play a game of "passing" a strip of ribbon like material back and forth through holes in the chicken wire (there is a child on one side and an adult on the other). For younger children, there are materials like feathers, plastic leaves or fabric flowers which can be "poked" or tucked in a hole of the wire.
Welcome to all our Playgroup families!
Each week we set up a variety of experiences for your children to investigate and explore. These always include some painting, glueing and cutting, collage, clay and mark making
( pencils, crayons, markers). The children are able to choose the activities that interest them and stay as long as they like at any given center. This is a time for you to follow your child's enjoyment and share in their discoveries and have fun together. Toward the end of each day we present a gross motor activity. Balls and ramps, as we had last week, is a favorite! We always end with reading stories.
Whether at home or at Playgroup, children need extend periods of time to get engaged in activities. They need opportunities to master skills by repetition and testing how materials behave. There is a lot to learn about the properties of glue and how to make tape stick and hold things together. Over the past few weeks the children have been learning how to use pipettes to move water. Now they are busy moving the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and becoming aware of how the colors are changing. They continue to be fascinated with the light projector and now with their shadows.
The children are fascinated by the light projector. They notice that objects they place on the light source get projected on the wall...HUGE. Change the objects and the images on the wall are changed. What a sense of power to be able to make such effects happen!
We are learning to use pipettes to move water. There are many steps to master. First you suck up the water in the pipette by squeezing the bulb and letting it go, then lift the pipette out of the water and then press the bulb and observe the water flow out.
We notice the children are wonderfully eager and persistent while trying new challenges.
Your support and delight in their activity is key to the Upcycle Playgroup experience.
* Follow your child as they choose what they are drawn to explore.
* Take joy in this time with them. Be in THEIR moment!
* Converse with them as you explore together.
By joining in their play they will know you value their efforts!
See you soon,
Eve & Courtney
It was good to be back after the winter break, and to also put some routine in our days!
On our first day the children investigated the light tables and our light projector. They placed items over the light and noticed their effects on color and aspects of light and shadow. In the hallway we like to offer a gross motor exploration. The week the children crawled in large boxes and played with the light from flashlights. We continue to have centers for painting and clay work adding various formats to challenge and add elements of surprise to challenge the children's thinking. We always provide a "skills" table where children with their adult can work on scissoring, taping, gluing and mark making. See you all next week!
Eve and Courtney
The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) and UpCycle Creative Reuse Center teamed up again in the north hall of the Torpedo Factory for First Night Alexandria festivities.
The AWLA brought two dogs and a snake that were available for adoption. Pugly was a 1 year old pug mix who will be available for adoption after he receives extra medical attention. Franco was a friendly 10 year old pug/Brussels Griffon mix and Monty was an adult ball python looking for a forever home.
Children were invited to paint, draw, and create a collage of one of the on-site animals to help get them adopted.
George Washington joined in the creative fun and made a portrait of his best animal friend Screech!
Eight pieces of artwork from the event have been selected as animal winners and are posted on UpCycle's Facebook page. The public is invited to "like" the artwork until midnight on January 7, 2017. The design with the most "likes" overall wins an AWLA Executive Director led tour of the Shelter for up to 20 guests and a gift certificate to UpCycle Creative Reuse Center.
All of the artwork created at First Night Alexandria's Kids Help Get Animals Adopted Through Art may be viewed below.
UpCycle provided a variety of arts educational programming and outreach in our community. Here are some highlights from 2016. What a year!
Materials Playgroup - for ages 1.5-4 years
Tinker Time - for ages 3+
Studio Workshops, Scouts, School Groups and Parties
Camps - for ages 3-15
Partner Events - Alexandria's First Night with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria; Torpedo Factory Arts Safari; Space Bop with Arts on the Horizon
Adult Art Workshops
Teacher Professional Development
Outreach in Alexandria City Public Schools Preschool and K Classrooms
Community Events - Maker Faire, Alexandria's Earth Day Celebration, Art on the Avenue
Fundraising Events - Gingerbread House Decorating Party
Kelley & Susan update the blog!