“Each year, as Barbara and I learn more, we add to and change the art unit. The students’ interests are also taken into consideration. Last year, my class was fascinated by the fact that Leonardo da Vinci filled hundreds of notebooks with his questions and ideas. When the girls asked if they could keep notebooks of their own I said ‘Yes!’ and they were off and writing!” The Kindergarten Art Show is set up in the halls of Baldwin’s Early Childhood Center. “We have several bulletin boards in our main corridors. We fill those and the extra wall space, the doors – we even suspend a large board above the loft to recreate Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.” When the parents arrive, Monica’s and Barbara’s students become docents. The art unit is a success thanks to many people. “Barbara and I are fortunate to have so many wonderful faculty members helping with this unit. The music teacher helps us with the songs, the technology teacher introduces the girls to many art related Websites, and of course the art teachers are there every step of the way. The upper and middle school art teachers open their studios to us. The kindergarteners get to watch the older students create works of art in the ceramics, jewelry, drawing/painting, sculpture and architecture studios. The art history teacher even put together a PowerPoint presentation on Impressionism for us. It definitely is an ‘it takes a village’ kind of project. “The children absolutely love it! It’s fun, it’s freeing – especially at that time of the year! A student of mine once said, ‘Ms. Henkel, one day I’m going to be a famous artist and you can teach the children about me.’ I thought that was just great.” Barbara believes the most important thing is to “teach our students how to look and see; and the parents are overwhelmed with their children’s knowledge and enthusiasm.” Monica also enjoys the responses they receive from parents. “During the Kindergarten Art Show, visitors are encouraged to sign our guest book and many parents take the opportunity to write their comments there. Generally, they are in awe of the things the girls have learned and created. During the final week of school the art show is dismantled and the children’s artwork is sent home in personalized portfolios. Those portfolios become a nice memory of kindergarten. If children end the year on a ‘high,’ they feel really proud of what they have accomplished, and rightly so. By the end, when Barbara and I ask each of them, ‘Are you an artist?’ the answer is a resounding ‘YES!’”
Docent Anna shows their Mona Lisas to her mother Lea
For more information, please contact Education: School & Teacher Programs by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .