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SMOOSH is a grown-up and younger child class!

We are so excited that after a long break, we are going to offer as a pilot this sweet studio time again! Originally called “SMOOSH” (because we smoosh materials!), we will offer it again!

It’s a simple, joyful, time of making space for you and your babe to have the gift to be in a little art studio, and explore simple, mostly natural materials. We will explore simple creative materials together, and parents will be exposed to some simple ways to encourage and support our children’s creativity.

With a grown-up (parent, caregiver, guardian), our youngest friends  – ages 1 – 4) get to come into the studio to play, look at books, and with the grown-up explore the activities we will have laid out. We will talk about and model “coming alongside” (that means just watching them work, being present if they need but not doing the art for them or commenting, its hard but makes a big impact on the children!)

Who: This class is for babies – toddlers with a grown-up! Roughly age 12 m – age 4, give or take. 
Teachers are Christina B with an additional Love Lab teacher team and assistant when needed. Christina has been trained in Reggio Emilia in Italy, and creates a kind of fun mash up of different pedagogies and explorations for the youngest child including Waldorf, Neufeld Institute, and Reggio Emilia. Christina did the amazing “community training” at Birth Roots in Portland Maine, has consulted early childhood centers in building their creative space and curriculum, and has years of art education experience for all ages. Some of our older children serve at times as assistants:). Our toddler and baby teachers are seasoned, caring caregivers and teachers, with varied and thoughtful backgrounds/studies in

Cost: $35 per workshop including materials and art to take home!

Where: At the studio – Love Lab Studio, 26 Brackett Street, Portland, Maine. We are located in a residential neighborhood next to a beautiful park, playground, and the cute new cafe and shop called “Smalls”. You can usually easily find parking nearby.

When: 10 – 11:15 am, Saturdays and select weekdays as listed!
Some children and families will be set after 1 hour, but we leave a bit of extra time for children who want to linger and play longer! We may add additional times if we get a big waiting list. Make sure you sign our contact form or email us to get on our waiting list!

For this smoosh, we recommend that parents please bring a second set of clothing, just in case, as sometimes clothes get wet.

We take our shoes off when we arrive, then go right over the art sink to wash our hands!
Please bring a cozy pair of slippers if you have them (socks are OK too!) to wear in our studio. We keep it cozy warm but always recommend a little sweater in the winter. It’s always a good idea to bring a 2nd set of clothing (especially for babies + toddlers!).
Grown-ups wear a mask please wear a tight fitting good mask. All our teachers and assistants are fully vaccinated and wear N-95 and KF-95 masks. If your child is wearing a mask in the world please consider this, but for this class, we will only have 5-7 children at a time and will do mask optional. We are asking for this special workshop that if children or grownups are sick in any way they not come! If families are in any way at risk for covid please don’t come either. Prior to the workshop start we will send out an email with information and also forms to fill out!

Other things we think about…
“Children should be able to do their own experimenting and their own research. Teachers, of course, can guide them by providing appropriate materials, but the essential thing is that in order for a child to understand something, he must construct it himself, he must re-invent it.”  – Jean Paiget

In the studio, we treat babies and toddlers, all the children –  as creative scientists. What tremendous focus they have!  They can be so intent on using all their senses to explore and relate to every new material and object that they are close to. Cloth, stone, leaf, soap bar, sock, paper, clay…how many different ways to play, pair, connect, interact, and relate and CREATE! We strive for an experimental experience for young children.

In order for this freedom for the babies in the studio lab, consider these ideas! 
* Allow your child to make small messes and do things “wrong.” It’s okay if your child does things differently than the other children, and invents a different way to use the art material, (like using crayons as a musical instrument!).
* If you are concerned that your child is doing something unsafe, say “oops, that’s not safe, so I’m going to hold that now”. We are happy to reassure you too.
* Allow your child the freedom to “find” the materials in their own way.  Catch yourself before you show or instruct, smile, and take a breath instead. Your baby may spend long, long, long minutes with something “off-topic” and that’s ok!

* Sometimes sharing an experience, like the texture in your fingers of sudsy warm wool felt, or slippery cool clay, or being deeply focused on the application of crayon, chalk, paint on paper…is, even more, connecting and loving and heartfelt than talking about it! We encourage watching!

Additional information

Smoosh Options

January 7th, 10:00 -11:15am, January 21th, 10:00 -11:15am, January 28th, 10:00 -11:15am, February 4th, 10:00 -11:15am, February 11th, 10:00 -11:15am, February 18th, 10:00 -11:15am, March 18th, 10:00 -11:15am, March 25th, 10:00 -11:15am