Artplay run a regular program of interesting and stimulating creative activities for under 5s. One of the best art workshops we’ve attended were the ones run last week by Avis Gardner and Dominic Belvedere, two specialist art teachers from The University of Melbourne Early Learning Centre in Abbotsford.
The River is Flowing and Straight line, Curvy line were workshops running alongside the free Caring and Sharing for the Earth exhibition at Artplay. Both workshops involved painting and clay work, with groups swapping between activities halfway through the 45 minute session in keeping with kids’ concentration levels.
In The River is Flowing the activities were inspired by the Yarra River. In the painting station kids were encouraged to use natural earth tones to create watercolour swathes around a collage river and then everyone’s painting were joined together to create a long river mural.
At the clay workstation kids were taught how to create river animals using air-dry clay. Manipulating long ropes and round balls of clay is apparently good for their motor skills and hand strength. The animals were then placed on mirrored tiles and kids were shown to create a three-dimensional river scene using natural found materials.
Lady AB enjoyed this part the most and was quite possessive of her ‘work’, not wanting other kids touching her arrangement of glass pebbles or twigs.
In Straight line, Curvy line, kids were taught to dip feathers into food-dye ink and then to create abstract patterns and lines on paper. They then used cake decorating tools to make intricate patterns on lines of clay.
Lady AB really loves making art with different materials so these workshops were right up her alley. What really impressed me was the way the two teachers facilitated the creative process – through asking questions, inspiring further thought and generally being encouraging and gentle with the kids. I was so impressed that if I lived anywhere near Abbotsford I would seriously consider enrolling in the Early Learning Centre if the two teachers were indicative of the quality of the teaching. I asked Dominic if they regularly ran sessions outside of the ELC and he said no, though Avis sometimes ran workshops separately through Artplay- so keep a look out on their program.
To enrol in other Artplay workshops check out their program here.