The Wellesley Community Children’s Center Art Show Spotlights Young Artists
What is art? “Art is something that you do or make.” “You design things using materials to make whatever you want.” “Art is drawing anything.” These definitions are courtesy of the young artists recently featured in the Wellesley Community Children’s Center art show.
Creating art gives children the chance to express feelings without words, to believe that learning can be fun, and to understand that there can be many “right” solutions to a single challenge.
“At WCCC, we focus on the process of art for young children, not the product,” said WCCC teacher Katie Thompson. Learning about art allows children to observe, describe, analyze and interpret information, and to explore many time periods and cultures in an approachable way.
“Our children have daily experiences with art where they use the materials at their disposal to create something all their own. The acts of mixing, dabbing, experimenting, gluing, smearing, spilling, drawing, etcetera provide children with opportunities to strengthen their fine motor skills, build confidence, ask, ‘what if?’ and improve their executive functioning—among so many other things,” Thompson said. “To me, the best part is when the children take their grown-ups by the hand to see their framed pictures. Their proud smiles are worth much more than 1000 words.”
WCCC’s art show was held as part of the center’s Week of the Young Child celebration in May, which also included such activities as visits from animals and a fire truck, a bubble-making day, and a singalong with a former WCCC student. Older “alums” and parents visit often to share their time and talents. WCCC also hosted guests who read, shared traditional holiday foods from their own cultures, and sang or played musical instruments. “To the little kids, those older kids are real performers,” said WCCC executive director Mary Kloppenberg. “The connections to WCCC remain strong even after families have left the program.”
Wellesley students also have the chance to work closely with the children at the WCCC. During the academic year, they provide support to the teachers and gain hands-on experience with children.
Leigh Morrison ’15 has worked with the WCCC since she was a first year. “It's been such a joy to see them grow,” she said. “I've been with some of the same kids all four years as they've progressed through the classrooms, and have been able to develop real relationships with them. It's so fun to show up to work and be met with a crew of kids who run up and ask me questions, or tell me about the games they’re playing or something they’ve learned that morning. I'll never forget a 4-year-old explaining to me the difference between ‘transparent’ and ‘translucent’; I don't think I learned that myself until I was in third or fourth grade! They never fail to surprise and delight me.”