Monday, September 21, 2015

Co-constructing in an Atelier

         The atelier is a rudder that gives direction to our work. 
                                                                                                      Vea Vecchi
                                                            a well respected atelierista working with Loris Malaguzzi

The atelier and the role of the atelierista developed in the late 1960s in Reggio Emilia.  The culture of the school established a philosophy where the aesthetic dimension and the search for beauty were welcomed.  Beauty is defined as a way of seeing the world with intention, respect and wonder. 

Our preschool classrooms are deeply committed to the languages of the atelier and have full access to the school studio and the support of Anna Golden, our atelierista.  As the children move to Kindergarten this access continues. Anna is also with us each day for more than an hour as we begin to strengthen our thinking and collaborative work during Investigative Research . 

This year we are joined during our afternoon and morning experiences by Cheri Wolff.  Our commitment to the hundred languages is a priority so Cheri is always present in our Kindergarten studio providing scaffolding to the intentions of the children and also creating provocations  to ignite interest and illuminate possibilities

An Intention
Fairy houses and stories were evolving on the small building table.  The children connected to the magical elements of fairies and with this connection felt compassion. They visited the studio to sew pillows and offer comfort to the fairies. 


As is often the case in our classrooms, the children look to each other for inspiration and so contagion spreads when there is an engaging experience. After pillows were sewn, the children looked for sewing that was more complicated and layered. 

A convention is shared

It was determined by the children that drawing directly on felt was risky because if they felt dissatisfied there were not options. Cheri shared that when people sew they sometimes draw a pattern. This was appealing to the children and many incorporated this strategy as they worked.

One idea leads to another.

"Take an object. Do something to it. 
Do something else to it."
Jasper Johns

When questions arise solutions and answers are co-constructed together as a community.

 E. announced that she wanted to make a dress but noticed a mismatch between her dress designs and the anatomy of her body.

 "My head is oval. It would need to have a V in the neck."


Sh. draws a neck straight across the dress and shares it with E.


Charlie designs a dress with a different neckline. 

E: "Oh, that is good. My neck looks like that."

E draws the top of her dress but feels dissatisfied with the sleeves. The sketch looked more like a tank top than a dress.

S. listens to the question and then offers her thinking for sleeves.

"The arms go through like this." S. draws lines at the end of the sleeve to indicate the end.


The photograph on the left demonstrates the progression of the co-constructed design for a dress pattern that fits the anatomy of a body.
One of the completed designs revealing a neck line and sleeves in congruence to the body. 

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