Open Studio: Choice-Based Art Education

Children artists use Open Studio time to design their projects of choice and own the whole learning process.

A well-rounded Education at SCIS

As part of a well-rounded education, students at SCIS develop habits of self-directed learning and critical problem-solving skills that encourage ownership and growth.

By giving students a voice, choice, and ownership, students become aware of how they learn best as they develop the skills to influence and direct their learning.

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Examples of this can be seen in Ms. Briton’s art classroom, for example, where lower school students have been using Open Studio time to design their own projects and finish collaborative work.

Open Studio – Engaging Learners through Artmaking

As part of a program called Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB), Open Studio is an art education approach from the United States that puts students at the center of learning. Children are viewed as authentic artists and are given “Skill Builder” lessons during the week. These lessons explore various art mediums such as drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, and sewing, and this transfers to Open Studio time. 

A Choice-based model

Open Studio follows a choice-based model where the children come in with an idea, select the materials they will need, set up their studio workspace, and create their artwork. 

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Teaching with student choice not only respects students as learners but also helps them develop life-long traits such as creativity, perseverance, flexibility, and self-expression. 

‘Choice’ is also utilized in TAB classrooms as a method of teaching for artistic behaviors like planning, problem-solving, and generating ideas.

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Traditionally, TAB teachers offer choice in all three areas, most of the time, to maximize creative thinking.

In Ms. Briton’s class, student artists usually follow a two-week Skill Builder lesson followed by two weeks of Open Studio sessions. The children get to have a least two times per month where they are the “artist” and the studio is viewed as theirs to explore and create.

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The child is the artist. 
The classroom is the child’s studio. 

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