In 2018, Studio Institute launched Creative Start–Memphis, a pilot visual arts program for pre-K students and educators in Tennessee. Through this program, local artists work with educators to build classroom art centers and provide quality visual arts experiences that are foundational in child development.
Early in the school year, dozens of educators and administrators from Shelby County Schools’ Head Start division participate in professional development workshops over a two-day training period.
Workshops focus on drawing and collage and share instructional strategies that link visual arts with social, physical, and language development. Participants explore inquiry-based art instruction, art center management, and the relationships among visual arts, math, and literacy.
Trained in Studio’s visual arts curricula and philosophy, teaching artists model lessons in the classroom, help develop classroom art centers, and provide on-site mentoring and ongoing professional development to support discovery and process-based learning.
In addition to providing visual arts experiences for students, Creative Start–Memphis also offers opportunities for families to engage in shared experiences focused on artmaking and literacy.
Community workshops enable parents to learn about art materials and activities appropriate for their early learners and how to tailor them to children’s linguistic needs and interests. Parents also acquire strategies for looking at art and discussing illustrated books with their children.