We are pleased to share the May 2021 Jackson Child Care Newsletter featuring Ruth Jember. In this student spotlight, Ruth’s parents share a powerful testimony supporting Ruth’s preschool experience and how art in the curriculum played a supportive role in Ruth’s development and school readiness.

Over the years at Jackson Child Care, Ms. Jackson has been using her education, experience, and knowledge combined with numerous resources to meet standards-based learning objectives for preschoolers. These resources include Virginia’s Milestones of Early Childhood Development and Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Comprehensive Standards for Four-Year-Olds. She uses these resources to develop age-appropriate hands-on activities that nurture cognitive development, creativity, and self-expression. This experience includes lots of fun open-ended arts and craft experiences. Why? Art is an essential part of your child’s early learning and development and will help prepare them for a more traditional kindergarten curriculum. 

 Art Thrives at Jackson Child Care – Children learn and grow naturally through play, inner curiosity, and plan daily experiences. Play is a child’s work, and art is an integral part of this work. The child’s learning is in the process. The freedom to explore helps children form connections in their brains. Art activities help your preschoolers to engage their imaginations, learn about cause and effect, develop fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, express creativity, and so much more!

We believe young children should engage in an abundance of art experiences. Our art curriculum promotes language, math, science, and other early learning domains. Plus, art is fun! As an early childhood educator, Ms. Jackson considers it creative and fun with intentionality.

Art is a child-centered multisensory experience. Children can spend all day painting, drawing, coloring, and creating. For example, we paint with our fingers, brushes, and celery sticks. We build sculptures with pinecones, small stones, buttons, and feathers — these are all examples of loose parts.

What are loose parts? One of the best ways to enhance a child’s curiosity is to introduce various loose parts into their art activities. Loose parts are objects and materials that children can manipulate and change while they play. The materials come with no specific directions. Children can turn them into whatever they desire. An acorn can become a bug, and a box lid can become a fishing pond. Loose parts encourage problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. They help build up the child’s confidence because there is no right or wrong way to play with them. It’s all about exploring, testing, learning, and fun.

Art Enrichment Resources for Parents – Over the years, Ms. Jackson has taken workshops at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center. Offering unmatched training, resources, and professional development experiences, the Center is by far the foremost experts on this subject. Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center — http://www.seec.si.edu/resources.htm.

Ms. Jackson & the Educational Art Community – Ms. Jackson is an advocate for early childhood art education. She participates in ongoing art education classes both as a student and presenter. She compiled the “Art Elements” as part of a workshop entitled “Using Art/Museum to Promote Literacy and School Readiness (hosted by George Mason University Professional Development and the Department of Social Services Loudon County). In collaboration with Ms. Lea Waldridge, artist and DC public school teacher, they created workshops and an art curriculum. “Art Elements” is a foundational teaching resource to support children’s art experience.

In addition, Ms. Jackson participated in the George Mason Child Development Center Professional Development Day (https://photos.app.goo.gl/yhPp47JdPqgVsu6X9) and facilitated an “Open-Ended Art versus Product Art” Childcare Training Workshop in Loudoun County (https://photos.app.goo.gl/x6anzGkLaP3wYEmA7). Ms. Jackson looks forward to doing more collaborations with the educational art community to promote art to build children’s early learning foundations.