How should I act when I join my infant in the Studio?
How can I be a part of their exploration without disrupting their investigation?
Here is our Center’s culture around
talking about children’s work and taking part in the activity
in a child-centered way.
Talking about children’s work
Each and every material offers an infant so many new sensations to explore! Sometimes this can feel overwhelming – perhaps the newness is unsettling or maybe the material’s texture is unexpected and startling. Our best tool for understanding what they think about the medium in front of them is observation. Take a moment to watch the way your child is using the material. Is he interested in the feeling of it? The sound it makes? The different ways he can manipulate it? After your child has had time to work on their own, offer some observations about what you notice, and suggest some possibilities for furthering their interest.
“You really like to shake these materials with big movements!”
“I notice you really like to bring the paper to your mouth. Would you like to try this thick, heavy paper so you can mouth it longer?”
“That was so surprising to me when that happened! What do you think about that?”
Joining in the activity
Art materials can be so enticing, you just want to play with them, too! The trick is, how can you join in alongside your child without the focus shifting to what you are doing rather than what they are doing? Babies need time and space to test out these materials for themselves, so sit back and allow them to get comfortable before offering anything new.
Take a moment to look at the children’s work. How is your child using the material? Is he feeling it with his hands? With his feet? Try interacting with it in the same way that he is.
After your child has had time to interact with the materials as they are, enact some simple changes on one of the things at hand. Crumple a piece of paper up, or twist it like a rope. What will your child make of this transformation?