Preschoolers really love the opportunity to freely create using multiple mediums! How you set up your art and easel preschool center will impact the creations that your preschoolers make and the overall flow of the classroom.
Art is all about creating something new. It goes far beyond just drawing or painting. When your preschoolers get an idea in their heads to create something, they need the right materials to be easily accessible to be able to make it happen. It’s really more appropriate to think of your art and easel center as more of a maker station.
KEEP IT SEPARATE
It’s important to keep your preschool classrooms’ art center separate from other areas of your classroom for a couple of reasons. First, you want to ensure that all of the children’s work being created in the art center is safe from getting accidentally destroyed by other children that are playing. Second, you need to be sure that the materials meant for creating works of art are not being used on your classrooms’ books or other materials.
Another thing to consider while deciding on the perfect location for your art and easel preschool center is clean up. Preschoolers tend to be quite messy while creating their masterpieces. Make sure that the art center has an easily accessible child sized sink nearby. Also, it is a good idea for the art center to have its own separate trash can. This way the children do not have to walk around the classroom with sticky or paint covered hands to throw away their scraps.
LEAVE IT OPEN
The art and easel center is not the place for pre-planned crafts. Preschoolers need the freedom to create on their own terms. The art center is a place where your preschoolers can use their imaginations to create anything that they can dream up. This gives them a chance to develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Process art allows children to express themselves and develop fine motor skills, too. It also supports the development of self-control and self-regulation by allowing children to make choices, take risks, and feel successful. Language skills are also developed when children discuss what they have created and how they did it.
PROVIDE A VARIETY OF MATERIALS
The art and easel center should be filled with a wide array of materials for preschoolers to create with. Having multiple options to choose from to create their own projects builds executive functioning skills such as making decisions, planning, and prioritizing. Here are just a few great materials you could include in your art and easel preschool center:
- Drawing paper
- Construction paper
- Glue sticks
- School glue/liquid glue
- Recycled materials
- Clay or playdough
- Hole punchers
As important as it is to have a wide variety of materials in your art center, it’s equally important for those materials to be well organized. If your preschoolers cannot find what they are looking for they may decide not to start a project, or they will constantly be asking you where things are. Also, being able to see all of the materials available for them to use can spark new ideas. Everything should have its own clear place and be labeled. This will also make it easier for your preschoolers to clean up after themselves.
The art center is a busy and inspiring place. Set up your art and easel center in a way that inspires your preschoolers to create new and exciting things that will keep them engaged in learning.