School for Young Artists
Ground Rules


Containing Energy and Establishing Direction in the Studio

Containing Energy and Establishing Direction in the Studio

Ground Rules are for everybody, teachers and students, parents and visitors. They are Respect, Safety, Rights, and Fairness. They are expressed in the form of different regulations. These rules secure the atmosphere of the environment helping to create a container for all the work we do.

It’s not effective to lecture students about rules especially when they are new to the class. I tell those students that we have some rules and I won’t go into them now. “When I need to, I’ll let you know, and it won’t be your fault, because you couldn’t have known.

“You couldn’t have known, but we don’t bring food or drinks into the sewing/computer side of the studio.”

Very often another student lets the new person know about our rule and I don’t have to be involved at all.

  • Respect: We respect other people’s work as well as our own. It cuts both ways. For instance, we don’t start working on top of someone’s drawing. On the other hand, the artist who leaves a workspace  puts the drawing into his or her cubby, so that no one will start working on top of it.
  • Safety: No running in the studio. It is full of hazards if you move too fast. “If you need to release some energy, let me know, so that you can take a break by going outside.”
  • Rights: All people have the right to go to the bathroom whenever they need to. It’s my responsibility to know where each student is at all times. “Don’t ask permission to go to the bathroom. Tell me you are going to the bathroom.” Most children love this.
  • Fairness: A student wants to complete a sewing project by the end of class. I think it can be done, and I say that I think it is possible. The project doesn’t get done. Excuses are lame. I admit that I miscalculated and apologize. It is fair to acknowledge failure and it is reassuring to young people, who also make mistakes.

In a shared studio it’s either ground rules or chaos. Ground rules must be in place before creativity is possible.

Lesson Plans