New Podcast!

I’m so excited to announce that I am launching a new podcast along with my husband, Aaron Schiller, called Muse and The Catalyst. It’s a podcast all about inspiration and taking action to create the life of your dreams. We’ll be covering topics such as lifestyle, business, family, parenting, design, minimalism, mindfulness, art, creativity, education, travel and so much more.

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Art Workshop For Children: Self-Portraits

Let me introduce you to my favorite new book about process art and Reggio-inspired learning. Friends, meet Art Workshop For Children. Art Workshop For Children, please meet my friends. I’m sure you guys will get along really well.

Art Workshop for Children, by Barbara Rucci and Betsy McKenna, is a breathtaking book (the photos literally made me gasp when I first flipped through the pages) filled with unique process-based art activities for kids and tips on how to prepare your art space for creative exploration. I especially love the thoughtful reflections woven throughout the book by Reggio-inspired educator, Betsy McKenna, on how to raise creative thinkers and why this is important for all children.

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Reggio Inspired Art Secrets

You probably know this by now, but I am a huge fan of the incredible art teacher and blogger, Meri Cherry. I remember discovering her work a couple of years ago when she wrote a post about wood working with toddlers. I immediately felt a kinship and was so excited to find another Reggio inspired art blogger. We eventually got to meet in person over a plate of tacos and we both couldn’t stop blabbering on about Reggio and kids art. We have been friends ever since! Meri has a way of sharing her experience as a teacher that is unlike any other teacher and blogger I know. Her beautiful photos and down-to-earth voice bring you into her world and make you feel like you are being let in on a secret. So it’s no wonder she recently published an e-book called  Art Secrets Every Teacher Should Know, A Reggio Inspired Approach.

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Summer Reading Recommendations: Learning At Home

A reader recently asked about my recommendations for books on setting up creative learning spaces. She specifically wanted to know about books inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. It got me thinking that I should put together a list of my all-time favorite resources- not only for setting up learning spaces, but also for expanding creative learning opportunities at home.

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The New Playroom – E-Guide Launch!

Today is an exciting day! I am finally launching my first e-guide, The New Playroom, a step-by-step guide on how to set up a home art space for kids (actually, I am launching my first two e-guides at once! I have also created a bonus guide, Invitations to Create, but I’ll leave that for another post).

For the past 13 years I have been on a mission to help kids gain creative confidence by exposing them to artistic materials and process-oriented art at a young age. I believe that being creative and understanding how to use tools and materials to make things is an essential part of learning.

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I am a strong believer in the Reggio Emilia saying, “the environment is the third teacher” (the first two teachers being adults and peers). When we create spaces in our homes that are stocked with interesting tools and materials- that are organized and inviting- we are giving our kids the message that they are creative and capable little beings. We are inviting them to explore the world around them through these materials so that they will gain confidence in their natural creative abilities and take these skills with them as they grow older.

Through my work I help clients design art spaces in their homes and schools. But this is not enough. I want to reach more families than is possible with a one-on-one service, so I created this guide for you to tackle it on your own. The New Playroom offers all of the insights that I have learned over a decade of working with kids in creative settings. I take you through my design process when working with clients and give you every tip and trick in my tool belt. And if you ever have a question or need a little encouragement, I’m here for you.

Thanks for joining me in this launch day celebration!

Click here to learn more about the guide or to make a purchase. And don’t forget about the bonus guide, which includes 30 days of easy art prompts!

Invitations to Create 30 Day Challenge!

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For the month of October, We’ll be embarking on a super fun, “invitations to create” challenge. This simply means setting up a few art materials in an interesting way and inviting your child to create. It’s easier than you’d think!

The challenge is to do this daily for 30 days to see how it improves your child’s relationship to art materials and to the creative process (and it will!)

The hard part is coming up with variations of art supplies to help your child think out of the box and engage with the materials in new ways. That’s where we come in! During the challenge, we’ll send out weekly ideas, along with extra tips and useful information. We also encourage you to share photos and support each other on our Facebook page.

New Sculpture Class! Pinch Pots and “Nature”

This session we have introduced a new sculpture class for children ages 3.5-6. Taught by professional sculptor, Jhaya Warmington (one of our regular toddler teachers), this class will focus half of the session on ceramics and the other half on a variety of sculpture techniques and materials. How lucky are we to have a sculpture specialist create this awesome class for us!

The first week of the session, the children worked on some basic elements of hand building, learning about pinch pots (and elbow pots!), coil making, and how to attach two pieces of clay together.

In one class, the children decided they wanted to make birds nests out of their pinch pots and add “nature” to the nests. One child suggested they collect “nature” from the garden outside. So off they went to find some more materials for their projects. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, we are always open to emergent curriculum and letting the children lead the project in a new direction. This way, the project takes on more meaning for the children and allows for a deeper learning experience.

Sometimes birds nests need a little glitter to make them sparkle!

The next class followed the lead of the previous class, when they saw the birds nests and natural materials drying on the shelf. They expanded on this by creating tall sculptures out of sticks and clay.

A mommy and daddy bird made by one of the students: