Creating a Sense of Identity in the Atelier

Fostering Imagination and Creativity

The Atelier has been evolving at Bear Park Herne Bay as we have been considering how we can enhance the ways in which we can collectively further support the identity of the space within our setting. Previously the atelier had been a multipurpose space combining a place for investigations and for engaging in artistic forms. It was also a space used by the preschool rooms for meal times.

The introduction of an Atelierista for three days a week has provided an opportunity for the studio space to evolve. Allocated times for the Kea, Tui and Kiwi children have been organised throughout the week enabling small intimate groups to collaborate on current key investigations. This helps to strengthen the mahi that teachers and children from each of the rooms are engaged in, allowing additional perspectives and the further unpacking and meaning making of both individual and collective ideas.

The redevelopment of the space has been done in consultation with Tamariki. Their ideas and perspectives have been discussed and interweaved throughout the process to date.

“The atelier…is about linking the experience of our lives as teachers with the children’s lives and waking up together in the world of a new geography. This is a geography of the imagination.” – Barbara Burrington, In the Spirit of the Studio

“The atelier is a space for you to be kind. You can share ideas like how to draw all about trees, and we talk about how to care for them. You need to be kind to trees because trees help to look after birds.” – Beau (4 years old)

Such collaboration has helped to ensure that the space and its development is a joint venture, where aspects of shared ownership and identity are explored.

The atelier offers an additional space where children and kaiako can work together in collaboration and where children can become masters of all kinds of techniques associated with the artistic forms. It also helps teachers understand how children invent different vehicles of expressive and cognitive thought as they inquire and make sense about the world around them.

Fran’s role as our Atelierista is to support children’s investigations and within this document the unfolding learning pathways. By collating observations, photographs and samples of their work these artefacts can be used to move an investigation forward, slow it down and to engage children in revisiting the thinking behind their ideas. Developing skills and knowledge when working with different mediums such as clay offers additional languages in which children can convey their thoughts and ideas with others. In essence empowering their voices to resonate within the space, to be heard and to create a laboratory of thinking.

Collaboration and time with teaching teams to discuss the investigations is also a key aspect of this role. Regular opportunities for this throughout the week strengthens connections between the preschool rooms and the atelier. In essence, this provides a wider understanding about the active investigations and how these can be further supported.

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