Bethlehem Preschool offers Art-in-the-Garden to all students once a month, both in our half-day and full-day program. We are sponsored by generous patrons-of-the-arts and fundraisers. The atelier (work studio) in the garden is pleasantly arranged and implemented by Patti McDuffie, on our preschool teachers. Ms. Patti is also a free-lance artist and taught children’s art at a local elementary school for 11 years.
Children are introduced to Masters of the Arts in a brief, age-appropriate manner, and then offered materials to try out the style of the artist. Sitting under a trellised arbor of passionfruit vines at small picnic tables, inspiration and creativity bloom. Children use different mediums each month: paint, pastel, clay, collage, etc. They extend their hands-on learning experience by exploring their surroundings, finding textures, shapes and colors in nature.
Art crosses the curriculum beginning with a story about the artist (history), where they lived and worked (geography), counting, shapes and balance (math), material exploration including cause and effect (science), and learning new terms (language arts). Through art children practice sharing and taking turns as well as appreciation of one another’s efforts (social skills). By using a variety of tools, children develop fine motor skills. Much of our art is abstract with no wrong way of expressing themselves, leading to happy, successful and positive self-esteem.