I’m teaching several art classes this summer at the AGNS for 3-5 year olds. These are week-long, half-day classes (I have a morning and afternoon session each day) that I design and teach. My first class is “Bookworms in the Studio”, which I’ve taught before. The basic idea behind the class is that we read one or two books each day, and use the books as a starting point for our art. A few of the books also connect to pieces in the gallery which allows me to tie everything together when we go on our “gallery walks”. With a different book every day, each day has a…. dare I say it?….. “theme”. Now, strictly speaking, I am not in favour of the theme, when it comes to working with young kids. I really do feel that exploration should be more open, that constructing everything around a theme discourages children from making their own connections, forming their own ideas and focusing on aspects that appeal to them. Ideally, I suppose, I’d love to provide children with materials and opportunity, and keep everything open. But for the purpose of the week long class I feel I have to compromise a bit. In terms of theme, I try to think of it more as a “context”. I think that by reading a book together, we start off with a shared understanding of something which can then branch off in individual ways. The difference is probably subtle, but I try to remind myself of it because I think it stops me from planning limiting activities. But enough of all the theories – really it is fun, and I am looking forward to it! In the days to come I’ll share some of our projects.