Art Specialist Teacher & Atelierista
About Michiko Fujii:
I have worked in the field of art education and early years since 2005: both in the United Kingdom and, more recently, in Singapore. I have been working in my current role since August 2016.
I would describe myself as a creative collaborator and thinker who has a deep interest in early years education and, in particular, making the Hundred Languages of Children visible.
My skills lie in aesthetics, design and set-up of creative spaces for children, visual thinking, creative documentation and pedagogy.
In my current role:
I work collaboratively across the school to develop a rich, inquiry-based atelier art programme that observes, honours and supports the Hundred Languages of Children in a multitude of ways, as follows:
-Building a physical atelier (considering the languages of different intelligent materials and creative processes: light & shadow, clay, mark-making, loose parts, story-making, digital interactions)
-Designing bespoke, child-led provocations within the atelier for each group of children, as part of the trans-disciplinary IB PYP concept-based framework. The atelier provocations support inquiry which connects back and reflects learning within each classroom.
-Considering, designing and developing aesthetics and creative provocations throughout the school environment with different members of the school team
-Building a re-usable materials bank as part of a movement for sustainability and consideration of intelligent materials as resources for play and inquiry
-Collaboration with children, staff (teaching and non-teaching) and parents, in various ways, in consideration of the environment and school community as third teacher. Examples include working with the school gardener to create learning provocations for the children in our outdoor spaces, working with parents to build relationships, and collect key resources
-I have also been involved in numerous projects beyond the school, such as the design and development of a Light Atelier in another school; set-up of a new franchise school environment in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; presenting a PD session to early educators from China; creating artworks and co-curating an exhibition for a charity art auction fundraiser event.
In this current role, the Atelier for me has been a labour of love and has grown and evolved from a blank space since 2016. The Atelier is both a physical and metaphorical space where small groups of children explore, make connections, play, learn, co-construct, develop ideas, physical skills, conceptual understandings and relationships.
It is a pleasure and a privilege to develop, plan for and reflect upon this space and watch the children as they grow, develop confidence and shine throughout their time in our school.
I have a Masters in Art & Design in Education at the Institute of Education, University College of London. Here, I underpinned the notion of collaborative art practice, while working on an action research project in two children's centres in Manchester, England over the course of two years. This involved working as a ‘Creative Collaborator’ to bring a Reggio Emilia-inspired approach into a UK-based SureStart centre for young children and their adults.
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