Light and Dark


“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress Adventure.” – Albus Dumbledore


When we walked into the studio, it was as if we had walked into the night, the lights shining from various sources around the room, some as big and bright as a full moon, and others sparkling and twinkling like stars. The group whispered to each other, and N said, “Shhh you have to be quiet.” 

We sat down on the carpet and I followed their lead, whispering and laying down, as we all huddled together. I described to them all that our atelierista had set up for them, and then quietly they each got up and began to look around.


Quietly and slowly each child found a part of the room that seemed to draw them in.

“This is my tiger. He is eating the other animals.” A then brushed the other tiles off the light pad and laughed. “Ha, they are gone now.


N and A took the rope light out of the light table and used it as a water hose. “Whooooosh. We’re spraying a fire.” 


A group used colored pieces of acatate to mix colors. One child would hold up one color, and another child would cover it with another. They exclaimed, “It’s magic!”


T used sticks, rock, and salt to make a nest.


Eventually, everyone ended up in front of the projector asking to be turned into different colors.

The entire time, the group stayed relatively quiet, on occasion reminding each other to whisper. When we had only ten minutes left in the space, I asked if they were ready to create a story. They said yes, sat down in front of the light, and they wrote a story together:

Me: Once there was a tiny little ant. The ant lived in a hole on a tree.

N: She crawled in and there was a giraffe behind her. Then an ant eater came by and ate the ant.

T: And then a tiger ate the ant eater.

A: And then it started to rain.

A: Then a dog came over and barked at the tiger and the tiger went away.

T: Tiger went back to his house.

A: Then it was just a dog.


“We cannot create a world we can’t imagine and stories are the engines of our imaginations.”

Each child chose a character to illustrate, and then got to work. This area of the room was fully lit, and they were talking at a normal level again, asking for certain color marker, or describing what they were drawing. When everyone was done, we returned to the dark side and retold the story.


Everyone gathered around, once again in silence. As I read the story, they would giggle or exclaim in excitement when they saw their character projected onto the wall. By the end of the story every child had their mouth covered up, to try and keep themselves quiet.

Then we gathered our things, stepped outside, and burst into laughter the entire walk back to our classroom. 

“There are dark shadows on the Earth, but it’s lights are stronger in the contrast.” – Charles Dickens

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