Listening to children and interpreting the sound of their learning is central to the mission of Green Trees. Such whole-body listening is active, reflective, present, and authentic. It is grown from a deeply rooted belief that children are capable citizens with the rights to be trusted, loved, respected, and seen. In listening to learning, we honor the hundred languages of children equally, questioning the hierarchy of language that works to normalize childhood, simplify thought, or devalue creativity

Mission statement: Art Studio, Green Trees Early Childhood Village

In and through the arts, we will develop a deep enthusiasm for beauty and a strong sense of wonder. Using “One Hundred Languages,” we will learn how to express ourselves as self-directed agents of our own creative identities. By exploring, collaborating, and communicating with one another through joy and respect, we will work to build an ethical community that claims our inalienable human right to live and learn through the poetics of the aesthetic. As artists, we will reject conformity, embracing an authentic existence that honors the beauty and diversity of the world in which we live. 

Beauty is an authentic, fundamental quality of life. It is both a necessary element of freedom and a qualifier of learning in its rejection of conformity, inspiration of awe, and privileging of difference. Beauty is a right.

 Power of the Aesthetic:

Central to the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education is the “hundred languages of children.” In the Green Trees art studio, we work to foster this core principal, providing children with opportunities to actively explore a variety of materials together as a class, while simultaneously valuing the creative expression of each individual child. As adults facilitating these experiences in the art studio, we listen and learn from the conversations the children engage in with the materials surrounding them. For example, while one child may engage in a lengthy conversation with a piece of tin foil, holding it up to the light, listening to it crinkle, tearing it into pieces, etc., another child may decide to just say a passing hello, turning it over to watch it shine before moving on to a block of clay. In order for children to engage in such complex, interesting “conversations,” they must have the opportunity to mess about with complex, interesting materials. For this reason, we focus heavily on the integrity of what we present children in the studio, working to curate a collection of materials that are open-ended, aesthetically strong, natural, and authentic to the artistic process.

Learning is relational—visualized as a tangle of spaghetti rather than a ladder or tree. Through performances of curiosity, exploration, and dialogue so incredibly intertwined, we make meaning, deepening our individual learning in relationship with others and the surrounding world.

Power of curiosity:

Such aesthetically strong environments and quality, open-ended materials are particularly important because they work to fuel curiosity – an essential ingredient in the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. Through the visual arts at Green Trees, we work to foster this curious mind by designing spaces and experiences where our children feel safe (emotionally, socially, physically) and, therefore, free to take act on their curiosities and take profitable risks. Additionally, as fully present, invested partners and guides in the art studio, we meet the children with approval and support, understanding the many threats that fear, dismissive responses, and disengagement can pose to the development of the curious spirit.