In Reggio classrooms, toddler teachers focus on teaching particular art skills with children ages 1-3. When children are shown at this age how to respect and use art materials, they are able to create thoughtful masterpieces with paint, pastels, clay, wire and other art materials.
One of the materials that we are focusing on this semester is paint. In the past we have placed trays of paint on the table and the children have explored and mixed the paint while creating their artwork. Painting was a very sensory activity. While we do want to explore textures and provide sensory activities for toddlers, we also want to show them how to respect and use the paint.
We placed different shades of paint in jars and had a paintbrush in each. The children were shown how to pick out their color, place their jar on the table and use that color to paint with. When they were ready for another color we showed them how to put their brush and jar back.
We found that the children were very thoughtful in their painting. They painted slower, thinking about the different colors and reflecting on the marks they could make. In the past, the children would often end up creating brown blobs of paint on their paper after all the paint colors mixed together. By using the paint jars one at a time, their creations were colorful masterpieces!