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The Child Development Center Steps Out with Experiential Learning

ACC Child Development Center class visit during the Fine Art Student Invitational Exhibition at the Colorado Gallery of the Arts.

The Colorado Gallery of the Arts collaborates with a variety of ACC and community programs to support artists, art, and art education. One partner is the Child Development Center located at the ACC Littleton Campus. Each month the preschool program visits the gallery for a tour of each new exhibition. They learn about gallery etiquette, critique and sharing their viewpoint. During the “Shared Visions – Tactile Exhibition” students were encouraged to touch the art. Of course, with preschool-aged visitors this is a natural thing. Being allowed to touch the art enhances their learning and experience.

From the start of early childhood, arts is embedded into education and learning. Art allows children to get a chance to stimulate their imaginations, as well as their cognitive and problem-solving skills.

Art builds students' capacity for critical thinking, self-directed learning, and problem-solving. The process of analyzing, experimenting, and creating art challenges students to develop these skills and inspires and motivates students to enjoy learning. Involvement in the arts can lead to increased academic performance. For example, students who participate in an arts-centered program show increased performance in both verbal and mathematical assessments. There is a powerful relationship between knowledge of the arts and success in scientific endeavors. The arts teach important skills that prepare the whole person for college and later life.

  • Art develops decision-making and problem-solving abilities.
  • Art stimulates the imagination and inventiveness.
  • Art makes you more observant.
  • Art enhances writing expression and reflection.
  • Art helps with language skills and overall academic performance.
  • Art helps kids connect and understand themselves and their surroundings.
  • Art boosts self-esteem and provides a sense of accomplishment.
  • Art provides growth in physical, social, cognitive, and emotional development.
  • Art builds fine motor skills.

Ceramic and Yarn Installation by Delany Larson
Ceramic and Yarn Installation by Delany Larson

Most recently, the kids visited the “Fine Art Student Invitational." The students shared their viewpoint, observations, and their feelings about the art.

When the children were viewing Delaney Larson’s ceramic and yarn installation, we were talking about the colors of the yarn and how it relates to their feelings. Some of the children made a connection between that discussion to a book we read often at school called "The Color Monster." This story is about a monster whose colors (feelings) are all mixed up. The book talks about what feeling each color is related to and how his friend helps him sort the colors out so he can feel better. It is a great book and was wonderful to see them make that connection! They also commented on the photography of how it made them think about going to the beach and playing in the leaves in the fall. They tried identifying the letters in other pieces and were looking to see if they found any that were in their names. When viewing the jewelry pieces children connected it to friendship bracelets they created earlier in the week. Throughout every gallery trip, the children are always talking about what they see in the artwork and how that relates to their life whether it is about books we read in class, special places they have gone with their families and friends or even something they have seen in a movie, they are full of connections and love sharing them with each other!.”
- Madi McKeown, CDC Instructor

Sylvia Deloge, “Flower Your Day”, Shared Visions – Tactile Exhibition, November 2021
Sylvia Deloge, “Flower Your Day”, Shared Visions – Tactile Exhibition, November 2021

Ceramic tiles by students from the Colorado Center for the Blind and Lena LeBlanc, “Hoops Dancing and Flower Art, Isolation”, Shared Visions – Tactile Exhibition, November 2021
Ceramic tiles by students from the Colorado Center for the Blind and Lena LeBlanc, “Hoops Dancing and Flower Art, Isolation”, Shared Visions – Tactile Exhibition, November 2021

Justin Beerline, “Specimen”, Fine Art Student Invitational, April 2022
Justin Beerline, “Specimen”, Fine Art Student Invitational, April 2022

Paintings by Jodee Whitehead
Paintings by Jodee Whitehead 

"Art provides numerous opportunities for children to develop their fine and gross motor skills, self-expression, emotional regulation, and social skills.

"When the staff and students of the Child Development Center take field trips to the Art Gallery, they are provided a variety of rich experiences. Many of which support the children’s abilities to make connections between their lives and those within their community. In turn, it expands their understanding of the world around them while instilling a deep sense of belonging." 
- Tatum Torres, Director of the Child Development Center

The Arapahoe Community College Child Development Center is an NAEYC accredited child development center providing full-day, high-quality care and education for children 18 months to kindergarten entry. The Child Development Center (CDC) is also utilized as an observation / practicum site for students enrolled in ACC programs. Conveniently located on the ACC Littleton Campus, the CDC provides an affordable child care option for ACC students, staff and faculty, and community members. 

For more information about the Child Development Center contact tatum [dot] torres [at] arapahoe [dot] edu (tatum[dot]torres[at]arapahoe[dot]edu). Visit their web page at Child Development Center

Faculty would you like to book a tour and connect your class curriculum to art? Please contact Trish Sangelo, Gallery Director trish [dot] sangelo [at] arapahoe [dot] edu (trish[dot]sangelo[at]arapahoe[dot]edu)

Gallery Hours

Monday – Thursday
9am - 5pm

The gallery is located at the NE side of the college, 1st floor of the Annex A1300

Visit our Virtual Gallery