Thursday, August 18, 2016

Learning Centers Blog Hop: Art Center!

This is the second installment of PreK Partner's Learning Centers Blog Hop Series.  This week's topic is the Art Center in a pre-k classroom.   Having an art center in the pre-k classroom, at first glance, may seem more like play rather than a real learning experience.  But, actually when children participate in art play they are developing social/emotional, language, cognitive, and fine motor skills.
Today was the first day of school, so I kind of have to laugh when I look at these pictures of my art center.  It looks so clean and organized!  We will see how long that lasts...  ;)  I am trying something new this year by putting pretty much every and all messy materials out for my littles to play with during center time.  In the past, I kept the shaving cream, playdough, and paint put up and would randomly get them out at different times.

I have a big shelf where all creative materials are in view and at an arms length from my little Picassos.  While I might limit the number of students in the art center, I will let them decide which medium they would like to create with.  The door and whiteboard will be used to display the art projects.

 In this photo, the shaving cream and playdough, along with the tools are at the bottom.  The drying rack is next to the shelf.  I have plastic mats that slip onto the shelves of the rack (not included in the photo).  Before I purchased the mats, I had laminated large pieces of construction paper and laid them on the racks.  They were wiped down easily and kept paint from dripping onto papers below or on the floor.

These photos show the different types of regular and craft scissors available, twine, yarn, ric rac, and washi tape I picked up recently at Target's Dollar Spot.  I also have a variety of hole punches I have acquired from Michael's and Hobby Lobby when they are 50% off.
  I have smocks and different size trays available, depending on the project.

 The trays I use and love the most are the small black trays that have been saved from individual frozen meals.  If you ask your fellow teachers to save their trays from lunch, you can collect several in no time flat.  They are the perfect size for little artists to keep stickers, pompoms, tissue paper, sequins, and whatever else available for collage work.
On top of the shelf are bingo dot markers, regular scissors, and caddies that can be taken to the tables.
I have also acquired a ton of paint, glitter, cookie cutters and a hodge podge of extra art supplies through the year that I keep stored in cabinets.  I will rotate the extras to be available on the shelves throughout the school year, since I don't have enough room to have everything out.
Art centers help increase creativity, collaboration, help students gain self-confidence, feel pride in their work, and experience success where the process is more important than the product.  Art experiences also develop visual perception/visual thinking, develop spatial concepts, help preschoolers learn about properties of materials and experiment with cause and effect, such as color mixing.
Projects and materials in the art center should be open-ended to encourage creativity where there is no "right or wrong".  There is a plethora of both fiction and non-fiction books available to tie into the art center.  Some of my favorites include:

The role of the teacher in the art center is to encourage and praise the process, point out the details, give guidance and encouragement.  Often preschool students have sensory issues and present as tactile defensive.  The teacher's role in this case is to not force textures and projects, such as finger paint, but rather start slow and let the student experience paint/playdough/shaving cream through a baggie first and move to just touching with the tips of fingers.  Hopefully, with enough exposure and experience this will lesson.

Now see what the art center is like in our next classroom of this blog hop!
Thanks for reading!  Have a great day  :)


  1. I've never heard of the Picasso Paris book! I will have to get that one! The Dot and A Beautiful Oops are my favorites too! -Christian

  2. I must say, I LOVE your art supply storage! I showed the picture to my assistant teacher and she almost fainted! Beautiful center!

  3. Beautifully center, the best thing about having things arranged is that you can find them easily. I really loved your Art Storage.Teacher plays a major role in letting out the imaginations from the minds on to the canvas. the young ones are filled with surprising imaginations, we just need to bring those surprises out. My child is in a nyc Pre school ( they also follow the same process of letting the imaginations flow. This really helped my kiddo in being more involved in things.

  4. Great post!! You can never have to many art supplies when allowing children open ended art. I love art books already have your on my amazon wish list. Tami Learning and Teaching with Preschoolers

  5. Now-a-days small children itself have a lot of pressure while going to school thinking regarding homework, Test, project work etc.. As said in this blog if the school has art center, it definitely increases creativity and self confidence. Beyond this they will enjoy this class. Thanks for sharing the creative blog