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Quilting and Community in Preschool

Quilting and Community in Preschool
Posted on 01/05/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Quilting and Community in Preschool

Preschool students proudly hold up their colorful “quilting” squares they created during their virtual preschool class at the Early Learning Center in Pasco. This year, the students in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) classroom, led by teachers Mariza Fonseca and Shiloh McCarley, have been creating art projects based on videos from quilter, Geneva Carroll, as part of an early learning art program supported by the Creative Start Art Grant from the Washington State Arts Commission.


Perfect for both remote learning and in-person instruction, Ms. Fonseca shares videos of Ms. Carroll teaching students about artistic principles and guiding them through fun projects. In the videos, Ms. Carroll covers topics ranging from color theory to shapes, engaging students in science, math, arts, and language concepts in the process.

Ms. Fonseca enjoys seeing the creativity and freedom of expression from her students and appreciates the structure of the video lessons. Students can make their own choices in the colors and mediums they want to use and are able to express their choices with their teachers and friends. In a lesson on color theory, one boy in the class latched onto having fun with mixing colors and would share excitedly every new color he created.

“It’s like ‘Hey, we’re being scientists here!’” says Ms. Fonseca. “It feels free and awesome, but also controlled.”

Where Ms. Fonseca sees gaps in the concepts presented in the videos, she can individualize the lessons for her students, such as adding counting activities to promote math skills. The shared time together and the fun and creativity of the art has also helped build a sense of classroom community, even during virtual instruction.

During remote learning, many families at home created quilting squares along with their children. Ms. Fonseca says parents have had as much fun as their kids during virtual classroom “dates,” where families could attend a Zoom meeting with their preschoolers and their teachers. Parents would even specifically unmute themselves on the Zoom to share the fun things they were engaging with and what their children were learning.

Just as the simple videos and projects build on each other to teach students concepts, at the end of the project, students’ squares will be put together into a larger “quilt.”

“It will be a symbol of bringing that community together,” says Ms. Fonseca.

Thanks to the Regional Art Grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, the ECEAP team at ESD 123 is excited to expand these opportunities in preschool sites across the region. ECEAP Administrator Lisa Brouwer-Thompson is excited to grow the art program and partner with local artists in different mediums to continue bringing unique opportunities to students, following the wonderful example led by Ms. Fonseca and her classroom.
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