I have said before how amazing our childcare/preschool is. Stephanie follows the Bev Bos philosophy that learning is about exploring and experimenting. Part of the leaning experience is using non-traditioonal materials and medium for art exploration. For example: the other day Owen came home with paintings he had created using pussy willow branches... as paint brushes. They've also strapped sponges to the bottom of their feet, painted the backyard fence (not the Tom Saywer version), covered the classroom in toilet paper, and often have paints or play dough out with all sorts of every day objects (cars, marbles, kitchen utensils, combs, etc) to use as the kids choose. There is also never an example, goal, or target project for them to replicate. The kids take the materials and create what they want. Stephanie has come great examples on the school website.
In addition to all the amazing learning that takes place at Bloom, I also find there is a side advantage for me: If the kids spend 3 days a week in wonderfully messy play at school, I feel like I can avoid some of the mess in my own home. Not that my house is clean, I just don't feel so compelled to set out crazy messy projects, like finger painting or glitter, because I know the kids are getting plenty of exposure to that stuff at school. On the other hand, the great disadvantage is that my kids are becoming pretty good at finding unconventional uses for everyday objects. Case and Point: