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Learning is an Art

Northwest Community College, along with community partners, recently participated in coordinating The Art of Human Learning, an exhibit on display at the Terrace Art Gallery until October 26.

The concept of the exhibit was to challenge artists to showcase the wonder and the importance of early child development. The art acts as a powerful expressive catalyst for individuals to explore their understanding of learning and make these ideas visible.

Kathryn Fullerton is an Early Childhood Education Instructor at Northwest Community College.

Standing beside her instalment at the gallery, a lawn chair partnered with a book of written poetry, Fullerton considers her inspiration for the project, “I wanted to be more observant in my world and open to wonder.”

“Like a child, I wanted to let wonder be my guide.”

Fullerton, with a broken ankle, was often confined to a backyard lawn chair last summer. One day a beetle landed on her knee and her curiosity grew.

Realizing she knew little about beetles, and in turn, about small things living in her yard, she began writing poetry.

“As a result of being more attentive to small things in everyday life and by following my imagination, I developed a new interest in writing poetry.” Fullerton says.

Her exhibit invites observers to sit in the chair and read her book of poetry. “To capture the interest and wonders of children, educators need to be there as well,” she reflects.

The Art of Human Learning challenged exhibitors to notice children taking an interest in something, explore it and start to invent something or change it in some way.  This was to showcase how the excitement and wonder of learning is found in everyday exploration with children.

Melissa Harris is a first year NWCC student in the ECE program. She is currently completing a practicum with a community after school program and her exhibit is made of building blocks and a few framed pictures.

“I wanted to show how children learn through play,” says Harris. “I saw an opportunity during my practicum when my students became naturally interested in the building blocks and their surrounding environment.

Northwest Community College's ECE department is a training program designed to give students the skills to care for and learn with children ages 0-8. Co-creating curriculum with children is a focus of the program. Students practice the art form of learning stories weekly, which allows them insight into how children process and learn from their experiences. 

“This project has done a tremendous job advocating for the complexities of ECE work,” says Fullerton. “Early Childhood Educators do not direct curriculum, children do.”

The Art of Human Learning’s other project partners include; Early Childhood Educators of BC (Terrace), Skeena Child Care Resource and Referral, Success by 6 Northwest and Terrace Make Children First Network. Included with the Art Exhibit is a workshop series and more details about that can be found here: http://www.nwcc.bc.ca/events

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