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Toddlers, art, and the IMA

Today's blogger is Heidi Davis-Soylu, Manager of Academic Engagement and Learning Research at the IMA.

The TAG group visits the Orchard and Greenhouse to collect plant fibers. Photo by Eric Lubrick.

The TAG group visits the Orchard and Greenhouse to collect plant fibers. Photo by Eric Lubrick.

This year at the IMA, we’re excited about a new school program designed specifically for preschools. The Toddler Art Group (TAG) launched in September with the help of our partner school, St. Mary’s Child Center at the Butler Lab location, and partnering arts organization, Arts for Learning. If you happen to see a clever bunch of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds singing, drawing, or performing in the galleries, you might have spotted our TAGers!

From September through May, 20 of our friends from St. Mary’s will visit the IMA twice each month for TAG time. A typical TAG session begins with a hunt for Tag Tiger, a stuffed animal tiger who likes to take naps in the galleries. Guided by a modified version of “we’re going on a bear hunt,” our tag_tigerfriends from St Mary’s locate Tag Tiger and then take her for a walk to look at art and find a good place to read her a story. Story time is followed by two or three sensory activities that help students build their own meaning of the art and, we hope, to establish positive relationships more broadly with art, learning, and the Museum. On their second visit each month, students explore art-making in an IMA studio classroom and revisit an artwork from the previous visit that resonated with the children the most. For example, the group decreed “the ship” (Tim Hawkinson’s Möbius Ship) the most intriguing work from our first tour of the Contemporary galleries.

We look forward to learning a lot from the students throughout this pilot year and we hope to grow the program during the next academic year to include more partner schools.

Readers of this post might also be interested in our wee Wednesdays program designed for children ages 0 through 5, open to the public.

Filed under: Art, Audience Engagement, Education

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