The Children's School at Stephens College

Because big dreams start early.

The Burney Sisters



This Wednesday, we were super fortunate to welcome local artists Olivia and Emma Burney. These two talented musicians are 13 and 10 years old. They have worked really hard with the help of their mother April Burney to perform over 100 gigs. Together they are known as The Burney Sisters. They play cover songs and originals and are on the lineup for The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival this fall. They shared how they use the Studio Habits of Mind. They have to Engage and Persist when practicing, Envision original compositions, Understand the Art World to navigate the performance lifestyle, Develop Craft by training their voice and perfecting how to play their instruments and Express how they are feeling through their music. Check out their original song Plastic that they played for us today! For more information about when they are performing around Columbia and to hear some of their music check out their Facebook page The Burney Sisters.

Stretch and Explore with Sculptures

We were so excited to welcome Friday’s artist of the day to our classroom! Allyson Kasper graduated from The Children’s School at Stephens College 12 years ago and is currently at Southern Illinois University studying sculpture! She uses lots of Studio Habits of Mind in her work. She has to Stretch and Explore, Engage and Persist, Observe, Envision and she often Reflects about the art she creates. Just like us, she loves dinosaurs and sharks and even made a life size shark sculpture. It was inspiring to learn from another artist from our community.

Engage and Persist with Pottery

Our artist of the day on Thursday was Eric Ordway. He is local graduate student who studies pottery. He demonstrated the steps it takes to create art on a wheel. He began by centering the clay on his wheel. Next, he drilled a hole in the center using his thumbs. H He then used the palm of his hands to create the sides of his clay. Finally, he used a cutting wire to remove the art from the wheel.  Eric talked about how he uses the Studio Habits of Mind to create his artwork. He often has to use Engage and Persist when working on a wheel. After his demonstration, he gave each student a small piece of clay. He guided us through the steps of making a pinch pot. Afterwards, we Stretched and Explored with the clay by transforming our pinch pots into an animal of our choosing! Next week, we will go on a field trip to Sager Braudis Gallery where Eric will have his artwork on display!

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Envision Embroidery

Our artist of the day on Monday was Caitlin Passalacqua Ruth. She is an artist in our community who does embroidery. She shared how she uses the Studio Habits of Mind when she is making embroidered artwork. She showed us different types of stitches and we tried using them with shoelaces and shelf liner. We learned that you have to Envision what your art will look like and Engage and Persist when making embroidered artwork!

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Develop Craft as a Cake Decorator

Our artist of the day for Tuesday was Anna Meyer. She owns a bakery and cafe in downtown Columbia called Range Free that specializes in catering to people with allergies. Check out more information at Range Free. Anna is an artist in our community who decorates cakes! She shared with us how it takes a long time to Develop Craft. She uses different techniques and media to create a variety of edible sculptures. She shared how to make icing flowers, different types of piping tips, tools needed, and some of her very impressive finished cakes! We finished our afternoon by writing letters with the icing piping bag.

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Blown Away

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We kicked off our study of expressing ourselves through art by walking downtown and viewing “Blown Away” by Paul Jackson. We loved visiting art in our community! We practiced an artful thinking routine called I See, I Think, I Wonder. This helped us to make careful observations and thoughtful interpretations to stimulate curiosity and set the stage for inquiry!

Looking for Cars

During small group, some students went for a walk to look for the different colored cars. Students were encouraged to tally the number of colored cars they saw as they walked across campus.

Painting with Music


Today, the preschool students were given the opportunity to paint with water colors while listening to music.  We discussed how the music made them feel, and then encouraged them to allow the music to influence their painting!



Classroom Germs are Real!

Before break, we swabbed parts of our classroom using q-tips and petri dishes. We placed half of the petri dishes in a warm, dark location and the other half in a cold, dark location. Today, we predicted what our petri dishes would look like, made observations of the bacteria, drew conclusions and had a student led discussion about our findings. From our discussion, the children discovered they had many more questions and wonderings:

-What does bacteria mean?

-What are the different types of bacteria that can grow?

-What is the gel made of in the bottom of our petri dishes?

-Why did the petri dishes in the warm location have more bacteria than the petri dishes in the cold location?

-How do we kill bacteria?

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