Toddler studio day is always fun. Today we opened the studio to explore the Egyptian provocations and paint at the easel. Toddlers are exposed to so many new things, new environments and new skills. In fact, they are literally experiencing a new world. With all this newness, rhythm and routine can be very important. They offer a framework and lend familiarity to the constantly changing patterns of life.
By February, some toddlers are at ease in the studio, but others are just beginning to transition into another space. Today this process was beautifully played out in a graceful dance between a toddler, and her teacher, Melody, upon entering the studio. At first the child was hesitant to arrive . While holding Melody's hand, she looked at several activities before choosing to paint at the easel. Melody crouched down nearby. Initially the child made a paint stroke on the paper and hurried back to Melody's warm embrace. Together they smiled and admired her work. This went on for several minutes and I sat nearby, smiling and nodding with them. Eventually she no longer needed to return to Melody and remained at the easel. Melody gently told her that she was returning to the class to help another student with toileting and asked the child if she would like to stay. The child smiled at me and came over for a hug before painting more. She painted and hugged a few times until she was confidently painting and exploring on her own.
This toddler vignette is a beautiful reminder of the power of support. Melody lent me her presence, which allowed the toddler to bridge into the new setting easily and by proxy, allowed her to feel comfortable with a new teacher. Then I lent my presence as she transitioned toward independent studio exploration. Soon she was visibly at ease, immersed in her creativity. She spent several more minutes, confidently painting, drawing and exploring before returning to her class. Really, it is a good reminder for all of us- sometimes we all need someone to lend us their confidence and support when trying something new.