Summer Intentions – Free Flow Outdoor Art

IMG_9481This summer, the Art Specialists decided to work more collaboratively, and to let the children work more collaboratively as well. Our intention is to delve into creating an environment that is free flowing and looks to support artistic, collaborative work between children from different classrooms for extended periods of time, and at will.

Like the classrooms,  the art studio has chosen one of five Reggio Emilia principles as our summer intention – the environment as the third teacher. We discussed together how the environment supports children’s studio work, and we recognized that the inside physical studio space hinders us somewhat, especially in creating the “environmental tone” that we want to explore in a more collaborative way.DSCF6755

At the end of each month this summer, instead of our regularly scheduled art classes, the art studio will be hosting a collaborative art experience. Each “free flow art” week will focus on a different medium–presented in different ways and supported by the three Art Specialists. We will utilize the playgrounds during these weeks; setting up three days on the back playground and two days on the front playground. Children will be able to participate as much as they like- and for as long and often as they choose. If we were to have inclement weather, the location would switch (for the day) to the piazza.

We wondered how creating outside would impact the children’s art experience?  Would the freedom to create with no pressure or expectation support collaboration?


This month, we focused on painting – with acrylics, tempera paints, and watercolors. Through our observations we noticed that some children who typically do not focus their efforts in the art studio spent 45 minutes to an hour freely painting outdoors. Other children would paint briefly then go play and return to paint for an extended period of time.

On rainy Wednesday, the community art experience moved into the Piazza.IMG_9545

In thinking about this experience for the youngest of children, careful attention was paid to how the children might use the piazza space for creating.We wanted the children to retain the ability to move from space to space and move their bodies in different ways while creating.

Some of our youngest children at Preschool of the Arts were wholly absorbed in their work and spent an extended period of time painting with one color at a time.


On the playgrounds, the children came and went as they pleased and spent time working by themselves and with others. They added their own strokes to those of the other children and together the layers of the paintings developed.

Hey! We should paint a sunset. These colors look right for it.

Some of the children brought their energy from their large motor play into the paintings using their whole bodies to create large sweeping shapes. Other children were focused  on painting a tiny spot on a very large mural.IMG_2823DSCF6766IMG_9527IMG_9531IMG_2811IMG_9705IMG_9728IMG_9478IMG_2798DSCF0475DSCF0490The products of these art experiences will be displayed in the Piazza, rotating every two weeks. The first display is entitled “Sweeping Circles”.


Reflection by Kelly Blondin, Danya Lanphear, and Lizzie Primozic – Art Specialists

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