Providing children with tools to become creative thinkers and learners.

Our outstanding arts program is the cornerstone of our school. Children are naturally creative and derive much pleasure from involvement in creative arts. They learn a host of skills and acquire tremendous self-esteem when given varied opportunities to create. Because we consider art such an integral part of our program, our NYC preschool has appointed an atelierista – an art director who curates our school’s beautiful art studios and who provides our children with inspiring materials and many open-ended opportunities to create. Our children use a wide array of art media including acrylic, finger, and water paints, chalk and oil pastels, crayons, markers, wire, clay, and recycled art materials.

Children develop a familiarity with the physical properties of different representational media by having the freedom to use them spontaneously and independently. Through this investigative process, children begin to understand the simplest rudiments of these media. This understanding helps them to establish an alphabet with which they can communicate and construct knowledge. Our children are involved in short-term art experiences as well as long-term engrossing projects.

Our arts program has been developed with the Reggio concept of “One Hundred Languages” in mind. By being given a “hundred languages” or varied media to represent ideas and concepts, our children have the opportunity to learn deeply and authentically. Because we value the artistic process over the final product, every child’s work is met with equal acceptance and enthusiasm. Within a Reggio school, there is a symbiotic relationship between a progressive vision and visible practices.

We celebrate our children’s creativity by prominently and artfully displaying their work in our J. Klaynberg Art Gallery and throughout our NYC preschools. To honor the process of creating art, we accompany each displayed work with a transcription of the child’s thoughts about the piece.

Exploring the hundred expressive languages
Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Approach, describes the “infinite ways that children can express, explore, and connect their thoughts, feelings and imaginings.” The “Hundred Languages” is a key principal in the Reggio approach. It refers to communication and emphasizes the importance of providing a multitude of ways for children to express themselves. Through the Reggio approach, children become increasingly comfortable expressing themselves through various forms of speaking, writing, acting, drawing, painting, singing, and dancing. Our outstanding arts program which includes fine arts, dance, music, yoga, and drama, as well as the inspiring materials and environment that we provide, offer a wellspring of opportunities for children to practice self-expression.

Fine Arts

The fine arts program at POTA begins in our infant program. We specialize in engaging children in open-ended art experiences that inspire their creativity and ignite their sense of wonder about the world. Our art experiences support children’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. Children handle and manipulate safe and natural art materials that support the development of their fine motor muscles which are required to successfully manipulate tools such as pens and pencils. Children are given agency to explore colors and shapes and learn about line, form, space, symmetry, repetition, and variation. They develop aesthetic preferences as they engage freely with materials such as paper, paints, crayons, markers, pens, wire, and clay. Children are given many opportunities to create with the same materials, enabling them to gain mastery over them and discover the many ways they can be used.

Atellierista

Our Atellierista - resident artist, meets with small groups of children in our classroom art centers as well as in our schools’ beautifully appointed art studios. She prepares pleasing arrangements of art materials that inspire children to create and develop their artistic eye. She encourages children to create art for pleasure as well as to communicate ideas. She provides paint, crayons, markers, pens, oil pastels, clay, shaving cream, glue, wire, crayons, and repurposed materials in a safe and beautiful space and encourages children to explore and master working with materials in an entirely free and open-ended fashion. She nurtures and celebrates the joy of the creative process. She provides opportunities for children to express themselves individually as well as collaboratively. She honors and elevates children’s work by displaying it with careful thought and dignity. She prints the exact words children use to describe their work and displays them alongside it. She introduces new art techniques and novel materials to teachers as well as children.

Music

Children are introduced to sounds and music (show photo). They explore sound created by a variety of materials ranging from household items to authentic musical instruments. We incorporate music into the school experience to create a shared bond between children, parents, teachers and peers. In addition, we are mindful of the strong connection between music and math, body-awareness, joy, and a sense of wellness. Our program guides children through the magical journey of exploring the fundamentals of music in an age appropriate manner. Our talented music educators and faculty select musical experiences that highlight and help children categorize the experience of High—Low (pitch),Loud—Soft (dynamics),Fast—Slow (tempo), Smooth—Detached (articulation), Duple—Triple (meter), Steady Beat (tempo), Timbre (the quality of sound).

In addition to encouraging infants to explore and create sounds with various interesting items in our programs, they are introduced to authentic musical instruments by professional artists who perform especially for them. Infants are trusted to climb on authentic saxophones, harps, and guitars.

Program Features:
Open ended artistic experiences
Inspiring natural materials
Hands-on learning
Social-emotional growth
Imaginative play
Engaging teachers and program
Fun, exploratory, celebrated work

Dramatic play

Children explore story-telling in all forms. They acquire skills necessary to navigate the social world by assuming pretend roles and acting out stories. Teachers provide thoughtfully chosen, open ended materials to help stimulate childrens’ imaginations. Children use these materials in novel ways as props to support their roles and stories. They develop social skills such as leadership by assuming new and different roles. They develop interactive skills by negotiating roles with peers. They develop academic skills by working with teachers to “write” and create the signs they need to set the stage for their pretend play. They are inspired to expand on what they already know about the roles they are pretending. On occasion, they dictate scripts for individual children’s roles in a reenactment.

Movement

Children are taught the body awareness and movements required for the development of strong muscles, and the separation movements required for dance and sports. They become aware of how to alternate hands and feet intentionally. They learn how their wrists work differently from their fingers. They explore how to make large and small movements to express “loud” and “soft” feelings. They develop coordination, balance, and control.

Performing Arts

Each and every day, our classrooms include moments for song, movement and dramatic play - all building blocks for the performing arts.

Program Features

  • Open ended artistic experiences
  • Inspiring natural materials
  • Hands-on learning
  • Social-emotional growth
  • Imaginative play
  • Engaging teachers and program
  • Fun, exploratory, celebrated work
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