In every classroom at the Little School collage is a choice at least once a week. Early in the year, Red Room teachers give the children small containers of glue, a brush, a construction paper base and pieces of black and white newspaper. There is nothing to distract the children from their exploration of glue. They dip their brushes in glue, spread or make a puddle of it. They put their hands in it. Some relish the slimy stickiness and others rush to wash their hands. Some enjoy peeling drying glue off their fingers. And, finally, the discovery is made. Glue will make two pieces of paper stick together.
In the Blue and Yellow Rooms the teachers give the children pre-cut colorful shapes or strips. The children use glue purposefully to create an abstract image. Some may take scissors to alter the shapes they are gluing. Some spread shapes across the base while others glue layer upon layer upon layer. The children are enjoying the process but also thinking about a product now.
In the Purple Room many of the children feel a sense of mastery over brush, glue and paper. Sometimes they use scissors. Children may make patterns or a rainbow. They can create three dimensional collages and they work, as older children so often do, to represent the world around them. Rip collage offers them an opportunity to control their work in a new way. They rip long strips for sky or tiny pieces for raindrops. Pieces are combined to make people or animals or the sun. A group of children working together get ideas from each other, a conversation begins, a story unfolds.
First, I saw a sun, then a lady walking by. She saw a cross sign, a traffic light.
There's a sunset and green grass and blue sky.
This is a sun and there was a sunset and there was someone looking at the sunset.
Through art, the children affirm their sense of community. The same projects are repeated in each classroom, creating a sense of continuity. Children observe and learn from their classmates as they all experiment with materials. Stories, jokes and techniques spread from small group to small group and the culture of the classroom expands.