Visit to the ART Atelier – Friday, last day.

March 23, 2009


Construction atelier

Construction atelier

Whilst I still have to write up my many notes from the Assitej conference, I thought I would give an overview regarding the Art Atelier we visited. Lizzie has expertly written and covered many areas I feel i would be repeating, so i will endeavour to finish with this account of the wonderful atelier spaces.atelier

The Atelier is open for 1-6 year olds and is all about exploring and experiencing the five senses. Each workshop for 10 children has a practical aspect to art, and is there to give an experience they may not have at school or home. The sessions give educators the chance to observe children in different ways, essential to their future learning and training. There are some games and rules but then the children choose what to do.Through a presentation we were shown how the children explore colour at different meetings – shining red in the dark, blue colours of water, yellow action painting, colourful projections on to the body. The children are always exploring the relationship with the colour and the physical. Linking to emotional states and feelings. Every child reacts differently, so individual choice and time is respected. Then the sessions move onto art – how do children see and understand art? They work with different styles and techniques. Within the construction workshop, the child collects a little basket and chooses their own materials. they take objects and reinvent their form and use, sharing their methods of joining and exploring with the group. Within the sound workshop designed by La Barracca, the whole visual tactile aesthetic of the theatre is there to be explored. Again over a series of sessions, silence & the air is explored with feathers, whisphers and listening. Then the sounds of water, poured onto plastic sheeting overhead, continuingatelier-6atelier-10with natural& found objects to make noises starting loud in workshops and then gradually quietening down to hear the inner sounds – heartbeat with stethescopes. The educators always work with the children by encouraging them to listen, then repeat and then change. It was a fascinating afternoon and a great hands on explore, before sadly saying goodbye to the festival. From Rachelx



  1. Hi rachel, this is fascinating – such great images too. I don’t quite get what the atelier is though, are the educators who work there professionals or students or a mix? How often can/do groups visit? It looks like there is a space that can be used as a rotating kind of installation – stays there for a while and then changes, is that the case? I love the way water is explored using different materials ie. plastic etc. really inspiring – no wonder La Baracca make such wonderful work!
    bestest Tash x

  2. hi natasha,
    thanks for your comments and questions
    the Atelier is run by the Bologna municipale, as part of the early years provision they supply. The educators are art teachers I think, definetly professionals.Groups visit once a year for 4-6 sessions. There were 3 spaces around a courtyard, one for construction, sound and colour. There were water channels and funnels running along the wall and natural materials to make sounds. it Was really inspiring, so lovingly handmade with heuristic, organic materials and so well thought out in its uses for childrens experiential learning.
    Best rachelx

  3. Hi Rachel
    Sorry, life has been so busy in the last week or so that I am only just catching back up with what has been written on the blog. Delighted to find all these images and so pleased that you always had your camera at the ready.
    Many thanks for giving me an insight into the art atelier because I skipped this on Friday afternoon as I wanted to do one or two other things before travelling back. It looks such a wonderful resource and I expect the children find it extra special because they are visiting a different place to explore. I think it is a good thing that these aren’t just one off sessions but that the children get the opportunity to visit over a number of weeks which must give them the confidence to explore and participate. I have the impression that there is more willingness to take small groups of children out and about to see more of the world. Does this happen much in English nurseries? Do the children get off the premises very often?
    Lizzie x

  4. Hi Lizzie,
    Thanks for your feedback. I think now with the Early years foundation curriculum guidance, English nurseries are expected to provide much more outdoor provision. However, they would probably visit the theatre or somewhere maybe once or twice a year. its hard to say as they are all so different, i know one setting where they will get on the bus to visit the local museum for example, but others don’t have the staffing levels to go anywhere. And i don’t know of any where like the Atelier in the UK. Probably Eureka!in Halifax or Discover in Stratford, London. But they are more commercial and are childrens museums.
    Hope to catch up soon

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