Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
Art Specialist Intern
For the last five weeks of my internship, I was lucky to spend every afternoon with preschool level students at the studio under the supervision of Megan, the director of preschool programs. The Studio space opened around 2pm, where friends of Explorers and Pioneers classes came first, followed by the Koala and Wallabies friends. Since coming to art was a choice, friends entered the space with excitement and anticipation. For the first 15 minutes, I encouraged children to do free drawing, either on their own hand-made sketchbooks or separate papers. Then, I introduced several activities and allowed them to explore within the materials I opened.
Upon starting the internship, I had acquired the permission to collect data for my Master's thesis at SEEC. I obtained parental consent from parents of the Pioneers and Explorers classes of taking photos of their artworks prior to starting the studio time. My research interest is how young children's environment affect everyday art activities and creativity, especially looking into their drawings and narratives. Below are some documentation of Pioneers and Explorers' studio time and artworks.
As mentioned above, we started art with drawing on our own sketchbooks. I kept the sketchbooks on a shelf, so that kids can grab theirs as coming in to the studio. Amazing conversations emerged during this time while friends gathered around the table and drew together.
Snow covered studio
One morning, we had a stack of styrofoam donated to the school. As soon as children saw the styrofoam, they dived into a group project of making an igloo. Some friends worked on making windows for the igloo, and some just playfully drew on the surface. The styrofoam broke into smaller and smaller pieces, and the whole studio space became a snow land!
Homemade play dough
With some home ingredients, I made a big chunk of play dough and brought in to the studio. The kids loved the texture of the sticky play dough and created imaginative figures. They added elements to the work by using small objects or coloring materials, which turned out to be pretty awesome.
Egg Carton Ideas
A family had donated a number of egg cartons from home. Kids loved making stuff with the cartons that I didn't even know it had so many possibility. Some friends used other objects like yarn to create a container for spaghetti, and other friends created vehicles like trucks and metro trains. I loved watching them explore an everyday object in their own creative way.
About the internship
I primarily worked with the CIEL team for the first half of my internship, assisting family programs, conferences, class exhibitions and various events. For the next half, I facilitated art activities visiting infants and toddler classes, as well as having studio time every afternoon with preschool level children.