In 2018, Studio Institute launched Creative Start: Memphis, a pilot visual arts program for early childhood students and educators in Tennessee. Through this program, local artists work with pre-K educators to build classroom art centers and offer students quality visual arts experiences that are foundational in child development.
Early in the school year, dozens of educators and administrators from the Shelby County school system’s Head Start division participate in workshops over a two-day training period. These workshops focus on early childhood drawing and collage engagements and share instructional strategies that link visual arts with social, physical, and language development. Workshop leaders and participants explore inquiry-based art instruction, art center management, and the relationships among visual arts, math, and literacy. Educators depart with inspiration from these hands-on art-making experiences and a packet of resources and curricula for their pre-K classrooms.
Throughout the year, our team of Memphis-based artists supports these educators in the implementation and facilitation of discovery and process-based learning. Trained in Studio Institute’s visual arts curricula and philosophy, the teaching artist team models lessons in the classroom, helps develop classroom art centers, and provides teachers with on-site mentoring and ongoing professional development.