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Creativity and artistic expression at preschool Galaxen in Södermalm

Creativity and artistic expression is an important part of the curriculum here at Galaxen in Södermalm. In each classroom, and in our two art studios, students are encouraged to explore and experiment with various art materials and learn different creative techniques. In addition to traditional mediums such as clay and paint, the children create sculpture and collage with recyclables, fabric and objects found in nature. Music and performance can also become a part of the art created. Using the Levande Verkstad teaching method, teachers encourage the children to focus on the experience of making art, rather than on a finished product. For example, the children often work collaboratively and freely, painting together on large paper, or building a tower together out of clay. After a presentation or performance, the painted paper can be cut into small shapes and the clay tower can be rolled back up into a ball. Materials can serve a different purpose the following day. The experience however, remains.

At the same time, children at Galaxen do produce dynamic and meaningful artwork, and of this we are very proud. One project that now hangs along the main corridor of Galaxen is the Power Pose project, created by students from all classrooms. Using simple body language concepts, the project promotes health, self-confidence and joy. In three steps, and over repeated visits to the art studio, the children took part in discussions and physical activities, the creation of the artwork, and finally the reflection, installation and presentation of the finished pieces.

In small groups the children and teacher first discuss what it means for them to feel strong, healthy, confident, happy and brave. Many ideas and opinions are offered, such as swimming, singing, dancing, jumping, flying and even skateboarding. The children are then encouraged to act out an activity of their choice. Afterwards the children freeze like statues to create a pose, or “power pose.” This power pose is traced on large paper, which is painted on freely together with the group. The last step is to cut out the figure, hang it up in our corridor gallery and celebrate together with friends. The movements are repeated and the children often cheer and applaud for each other. Their eyes and smiles stay fixated on their colorful, powerful portraits for a long time.

Another project recently completed by the children at Galaxen (together with The Cottage) was the Fantasy Home and Building project. It was inspired by the buildings of Södermalm and from the children’s imaginations. Connected to the preschool’s “Around Us” project, and created over the course of many months, the children created over one hundred small houses using cardboard, paint, glue and other recycled materials. Small forts or “kojor” were made by using plastic sheeting that were painted on with bright colors, serving as doors and windows. These small houses and painted “windows” were installed at Transtromerbiblioteket, the city library at Medborgarplatsten. The artwork lined the street windows and filled a portion of the library’s main entrance. With their artwork on display, visits to the library became even more meaningful and exciting for the children, teachers and families of the preschools.