Inspiration for Childcare Workers and Family Day Care Educators #1
Looking at the artistic element in the preserving of fruits and vegetables like this display I saw many years ago at a country show reminded me of all the things we can learn about preserving the artistic goodness in our homes.
I am doing a talk a few years ago on the content of one of the themes at the 2009 Vital Years conference.
One of the key statements was that
The ‘arts’ have to come from ‘artists’ who have a lifelong body of work.
Here is an example:
Goal: To learn the art of sculpture
Task: To carve a handmade spoon from an organic piece of timber
If we activate our thinking, we might decide that a sculptor (artistic thinking) might be a better choice than a carpenter (scientific thinking) for instance, who might approach the same task more mechanically.
But this would be different and probably reversed if one wanted to make a living through making spoons.
The question may be:
What exactly is the outcome you are trying to achieve?
- Is it possible to have a balanced approach?
- Can the scientific and artistic thinking styles meet somewhere in the middle?
There were four essential things given to us to ponder in the quest to provide and build our body of ‘artistic experiences’ so that our endeavour to be seen as an “artist” and artistic in our work with children is truthful. I’d like to share. Of course, these ideas are for an educator working in the family day care or childcare space but they are relevant for our work as mama bears in the home too.
Four Questions to ask yourself
1. Is the adult/educator engaged artistically in the domestic arts and work processes?
2. How do the arts live in the space? (eg home or residence or venue)
3. How is the artistic experiences of the child (and adult/educator) fostered through the furnishings and play materials?
4. Is the adult/educator engaged in creative, artistic endeavour? (of their own choice, in their own time – for example, learning a new skill – such as making pottery mugs – with an experienced teacher or dabbling in shibori dyeing, as well as through their work professional development? )
I like to think that, no matter how ‘creative’ or artistic we believe ourselves to be in general life, we all can be domestic artists in our work, if not more. Someone who strives to bring beauty and creative thought into every teensy part of life, on some level. The difference is that our lifelong body of work is moving, unfixed and transformed everyday. It is eaten, worn, given away, played with, cleaned up, and rarely hung on walls. Every moment becomes an opportunity for an art process- how we cut up the fruit, clean the kitchen (or sometimes don’t!), wear clothes and accessories, prepare food, hang out washing, do a bit of crafting and creating, decorate, and care for our home and family.
I like that the opportunity is always there, even if many times we don’t take it. (Sometimes, I cut the fruit into shapes. Other days, Ned and Jack are lucky if they are given morning tea.)
Of course, some things are more of a challenge than others. I am a hopeless dag who really needs help, and money, to elevate my clothing style to my vision of beautiful. Luckily, every single day, there is a new opportunity to try something fresh! One day I’ll get it just right! (My newest goal is to ‘dress well everyday’. It is helping to keep me on track.)
Everyday, we need to actively engage in some kind of our own artistic endeavor. For me, it might happen while I sit beside the sandpit, watching Jack with one eye, stitching a small embroidery badge or cutting out a paper craft. It could be drawing a new poster or label. Toddler time doesn’t allow for large blocks of free time so most of my projects these days are short and sweet and juicy as yours might be too.
I suppose the best thing we can do is to make sure materials are at hand (find available space in the dining room, kitchen, hallway stand, cupboard in the playroom etc) so that our children see our striving to create some form of art. It is often through the small, seemingly unnoticed gestures, that there is real impact on our loved ones around us. It is all about making ‘things for a beautiful life’.
What small (or big) gesture do you do to make your artistic essence come alive on a daily or weekly basis?