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The Painting Bench
painting benchThe painting bench provides an interactive learning station where both the teacher and students exchange information. It is the central gathering place for those working in the painting studio. Here eye contact can be made between the students and the teacher who is seated behind the bench at eye level with the children.

The bench encourages child painters to observe classmates’ interaction with the teacher, and to ask questions about what they see. The bench is a learning station, a gathering place for the community of little painters. Here they can mix new colors by combining primary colors, and they can watch while classmates experiment with colors. In this way, by interacting, observation skills are sharpened, reasoning is encouraged, and exploring new solutions with different materials tried.

The teacher seated behind the bench acts as a resource for the young artists. She can ask questions, remind children to rinse their brushes, help with pouring chosen colors into mixing cups, and dialogue about composition. She can play games of naming new colors, lizard green, or flower purple, she can ask the children to verbalize what they are doing so that learning is reenforced. She can also remind students to value each other’s work by discouraging competition and negative comments. As the bench is located in the center of the painting studio, children must walk to and from their paintings to reach the painting bench. This allows the child to see her painting from a distance across the room. She can also see other’s paintings. If the teacher asks her if she wants to add a color, or use a different brush she can observe what she has done from a distance, deciding whether or not to change the composition.