The daycare teacher tells us, when they were told they were going to do art for the university they were very excited. Being attached to the university underscores the central purpose of the daycare around learning and illustrates the central purpose of the daycare as a place to learn. The children are hungry to learn. “Being attached to the university opens us to all the resources for learning that the university has, that we can expose the children to, like the huge fish tank they love to visit. And the statue that turns from a bear into a human and back again. That fascinates them. And while we are for sure a benefit and support to parents who are students, or faculty or staff, we are a place of learning for others too. Students in Early Childhood Education come here.”
The location of the day care matters in other ways too, they tell us. “ We are so close to nature here too, and the kids love getting out into the wild. They learn with every fibre of their being.
While we are talking, perched on tiny chairs around a tiny table, the children have plunged into the paints. There is none of the hesitancy and trepidation that marks so many of the adult sessions. They want colour, and lots of it, and now. They are wielding the unusual painting implements (bamboo skewers and spatulas) with abandon. They pull back, survey their work on the glass, pensively, after each colour in order to choose what colour and what space they will tackle next. They are quiet, and intent. They take their task very seriously. They have a willingness and fearlessness to embrace the new that accompanies learning. Vibrant splashes of abstract abandon are emerging. And then, clearly and simply “I’m done now. I am going to read a book.” And off he goes.
We have done more than one glass tile here so that the day care can have one of its own to see every day. And we see in the children’s designs how each child represents a point for the future, and for us the hope that they always act the word LEARN and approach the world, with such joyous fearlessness for the rest of their lives as they did today.