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The 60 minutes of class was divided into three main activities: drawing, painting, and working with clay.

child playing with clayA large 8 foot table was covered with butcher paper, often of different colors, black, blue, yellow or white. Parents sat next to their toddler and everyone drew on the table together, guided by the teacher, to make “tangled up lines,” or “hopping lines” or “wiggly lines” or to take the line for “a walk,” by standing up and walking around the table together, trailing their marking pen on the paper next to them. In this way enormous, continuous lines were drawn around the table. Sometimes the lines encountered “bumps” or “mountains” or “hills” that required a different movement of the arm, moving it up on the page so the line moved “over” the bump. This was a way of introducing the concept of directionality, up and down, of the page. If a line went “up” a mountain it moved towards the top, if it went “down,” it moved towards the bottom.

boy paintingFor the second activity the painting area of the studio was set up before class. Large pieces of paper, 22 1/2 “X 28” were tacked to the wall. An oval formica board was placed on the floor next to the paper creating a station, a place for each adult and child to work. The formica oval served as a finger painting surface, or basic palette, where paint could easily and quickly be spread with a brush or with hands. With the conclusion of drawing activities the class moved to the painting area where each child was given two cups, one each of a primary color to mix on the formica boards. They had the choice of using their hands, a brush or a sponge to mix colors. Most often this activity became finger painting as children chose to be in direct contact with the paint, exploring the properties with their fingers. As children at this age are learning through their senses, their enthusiasm for finger painting was appropriate. The paintings often had hand prints of different colors, both the child’s and the parent’s, decorating the page. Often too there were markings from the brush and sponge. Different ways of applying the paint gave different pleasing results in red and blue, or yellow and blue, or red and yellow. By giving the children only two primary colors their painting remained bright and colorful, not brown. They also learned, by doing, what primary colors make secondary colors.

Working With Clay
child playing with clayThe third activity was a three dimensional activity, generally working with clay. Again here process over product was emphasized. Mostly the children were encouraged to push straws and fingers through the mass so that they could explore the three dimensional aspect of the material. None of the shapes done with clay were dried. It was purely process that mattered. Two year olds love to explore the material. Once finished, they move on to other materials without possessing the product.

Child experimenting with physical symmetry by repeating her hand print.
Two year old exploring concept of volume with clay; Berkeley Child Art Studio.