Throughout the month of July, our preschool theme was Mother Goose Time’s Art Studio. We made such amazing art! Piles of it! We learned about The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, and art techniques. Part way through, I decided to host a Preschool Art Show. I’ve been wanting to plan a family picnic for a while now. Mother Goose Time included a Family Picnic kit in July! I knew it was what I wanted to do this summer.
Parent Engagement in Early Childhood Programs
Events like a family picnic and preschool art show is one way we can connect with families. Ongoing communication and establishing connections with families is necessary to support families. We want to instill the idea of valuing learning. We must include parents in our programs to share in their child’s educational experience. Continual program initiated communication regarding individual children is important. Inviting families in, to experience and enjoy the program, is even more powerful. It builds relationships and invites parents to communicate more freely with the provider, ultimately promoting involvement in the program, and their child’s day.
We want on-going communication with families and to build strong relationships so we can support each other. We want to recognize that parents are children’s primary and most important caregivers and educators. Planning picnics, family celebrations, and parties can be a lot of work but another benefit of them is giving families an opportunity to support and socialize with other families with young children in their communities. As professionals, these type of family engagement type events reflects our commitment to young children and families.
Early relationships matter and we want to build strong relationships with children. We want children to see the strong relationships adults can build. Then they can see that school is important to their parents, that we are all supporting their learning or that the adults are “on the same page”.
Creating Excitement for Your Program
Creating an excitement for your program as a business owner is essential. Perhaps it’s the hidden benefit of hosting a family event. We talked about the art show throughout the day. The children brought me drawings and paintings from their free time work and said, “This is for the art show.” They went home and told their parents, “We’re having an art show!” Parents heard and saw glimpses of our Art Studio theme throughout the month. I didn’t share too many pictures (mostly due to time!) so it was all a surprise.
I sent out paper invitations and posted it on the Facebook page. We created a list on Facebook of what dishes parents were planning to bring for the picnic. I would plan an art show every few years since I have the same families in my program for several years in a row. Next year we could have a family picnic but with different work on display or an entertainment theme. I’ve done a carnival (tons of work!), preschool open house, fall Pumpkin Patch party and holiday open house.
Preschool Art Show
Displaying the art: I stapled a heavy yarn cording to our deck and fence. I clipped the art to the string with clothespin clips. I stapled the informational sheets and quotes to the fence. The staples easily pulled out in most cases. I was careful to collect them so they didn’t cause injuries later. Some projects, like the bottle cap art and castles, were displayed on the outdoor toy shelving and deck railings.
What We Made
Here’s a walk through of our art that was on display. We worked on this art for our Preschool Art Show for about a month.
Bottle cap art: Using recycled materials to make a sculpture. We used hot glue guns (I had a helper that day) to glue the caps on cardboard.
Mona Lisa / Self Portraits
Artists in England / Decorated Castles: I liked that the Art Studio theme included cultural elements, like learning about castles in England featured the flag of England.
I found a few art related quotes online and printed out signs to display with our art.
Abstract Art / Color Strip Collage: I added informational signs for parents. It’s important to educate the parents too! Then they can really see the value of our work. It’s not “just cute”.
3D Art / Yarn Wrapped Sticks: I love the idea of using natural materials in art. It’s important for children to work with different materials than just paper, glue, and paint. We used different kinds of yarn to wrap around sticks. They turned out beautiful!
Modern Shape Spinners: We explored the concept of modern art with circles. We painted paper plates with dot painters and then cut them in spirals. They looked amazing hanging in our tree!
Sunflowers in a Vase/Vincent Van Gogh
Starry Night Sensory Play: Shaving cream, liquid watercolors, and glitter. Awesome!
Starry Night / Vincent Van Gogh: We explored the swirling design of Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night painting. We painted door hangers with a swirl shaped pipecleaner dipped in paint (mixed with a little glue) and sprinkled with glitter.
Water Lilies by Monet
We explored individual colors like shades of pink:
Chrysanthemums by Monet
The Girl with a Pearl Earring: See this post for more about this art activity
French Artists / Flag of France Collage
Stenciling: Exploring the technique of stenciling with number stencils.
Frescos & Murals
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte / Pointillism / Umbrellas
Picasso / Cubism
We kept the picnic simple. I supplied hamburgers, brats, hotdogs, buns, water, juice pouches, chips, and ice cream cups. Families each brought a dish to pass. We pre-grilled the meat and put it in the Nesco. Super fun night for all!
I hope you will consider hosting a preschool art show! It was a fabulous night that everyone enjoyed.
More Parent Engagement Ideas