Recently, my husband came across a New York Times article describing a preschool, here in Manhattan, that has created a ‘Materials Center’ comprised of an extensive collection of recycled and natural objects. These objects - ranging from bottle caps, wine corks, and wood scraps to pebbles, vinyl records and dental X-rays - are donated by parents, local businesses, and anonymous community members, among others. They’re meticulously cleaned and organized in this unique ‘supply closet’ and then used by teachers for art projects in their classes. One parent, whose son attends the preschool, was quoted as saying: “I love it, because the children really get a sense of reusing objects and how important that is.”
Perhaps I will start referring to the ever-proliferating collection of yogurt and deli containers (which can’t be recycled in New York!) underneath my kitchen sink as my ‘Materials Center’. My plan is to use these things for arts and crafts projects in the children’s classes I’m helping out with this summer.
(The collage at the top of the page is a ‘mind map’ that I created for a course reflection assignment last semester. I used egg cartons, paper bags, and a variety of other recycled items from my own ‘Materials Center’ to make it!)