Collaborative Art in the Classroom: A Multicultural Mosaic

Ms. Sarah, Green 2 teacher, collaborated with Ms. Christina on this week’s blog post about a wonderful mosaic art project she worked on with the children at 45th Street. 

Art is an important part of the curriculum at The International Preschools. Children strengthen fine motor skills by participating in art activities such as cutting, drawing, tearing, taping, and drizzling. It is also a chance to let a child’s creative talents shine. Children are also encouraged to work collaboratively when creating classroom murals, collages, and paintings.

Throughout the school year, students learn about the many cultures that make up our preschool community.  As a special collaborative art project, the Junior Kindergarten and Pre-K students at 45th Street constructed a mosaic mural with their teachers and Ms. Sarah. Flags of countries from around the globe and a world map served as their muse and guide. Mosaic work is a medium that completely lends to our school’s play-based learning philosophy, as it can be used and taught to children of a very young age.  

To begin, Ms. Sarah discussed with each class how mosaic art is used around the world as a way to make our public spaces colorful with design. She then mentioned that subway stations in our hometown of New York City frequently use these tiles and display this type of art.  Students were asked to identify which station’s artwork they remember seeing in their travels.  One child mentioned the animals at the Museum of Natural History station (81st and Central Park West).  Another child made a school-to-home connection, noting,  “I have those (tiles) in my bathroom to make my bathroom pretty, but they are just white in my bathroom.”

Next, the students began work on the mural, an endeavor which spanned six one-hour sessions.  The mosaic tiles, in a variety of colors, sparkles, and sheen, immediately sparked the interest of the children.  While exploring the tiles, the students sorted them by color, incorporating an important mathematical concept.  They then matched the colors of the tiles to the colors of the flag design and world map, demonstrating an understanding of color matching (another mathematical concept!). Finally, the children used a special, strong glue to adhere the tiles to the surface.  In some instances, the children worked individually; in others, they teamed up with partners, putting their social skills to work in creating the final masterpiece.  The collaborative art work is now hanging proudly in the hallway at our 45th Street location for all to admire.

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