I work as an Atelierista (art studio specialist) at a center for early childhood development with children aged 4 months to 6 years old.
I wouldn't say I am an art teacher, but rather a researcher and a collaborator. I follow a beautiful and profound philosophy that began in the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy in the 1950's by a man named Loris Malaguzzi. In this early educational philosophy children are seen as competent researchers, and we, their partners and facilitators.
I am particularly interested in the connecetions between science and art. I believe young children have a unique capacity to observe and understand nature. Given the time to explore, they are eager to hypothesize and theorize about the mechanisms behind the natural world. We don't often give young children the opportunity to express their innate competency and researching skills when it comes to science. In my art studio I set up the environment to ask the questions. Within this framework, the children have access to studio materials like paint, clay, and drawing tools to "talk about" their observations. In this way the art they make have a unique context and a richly driven purpose.
As I work through my masters in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, I am focusing on the intersections of artistic commonalities between adults and children.
You can read further about my work from Lorraine Heitzman on the blog Art Cricket LA. The Art Education of Stephanie Stein - Art Cricket LA (2) (1).pdf