At the intersection of teaching & learning

Welcome to the Educational Spark Blog


This is a transformative time in the field of education and I’m eager to join the conversation. I believe that teaching is a noble craft and is a practice that requires patience, persistence, humor and warmth. School is a social construct where connectivity and relationships are at the heart of it all. Over the course of the past three decades, I have uncovered perplexing questions and have received unending inspiration from children, teachers and parents that keep the daily work of teaching and learning alive. 


This blog is a space for reflection, celebration and provocation. I invite you to join the conversation…. read, share, question, respond and participate. There is much to consider and even more to do.



Betsy McKenna, M.S.Ed.

Educational Consultant & Leadership Coach

Art Workshop for Children

Art Workshop for Children is not just another book of straightforward art projects. The book's unique child-led approach provides a framework for cultivating creative thinking and encourages the wonder that comes when children are allowed to freely explore the creative process and their materials. As children work through these open-ended workshops, adults are guided on how to be guides who provide questions, encourage deep thinking, and help spark an excitement for discovery. Explore basic materials and workshops that use minimal supplies, and then gradually add new materials to fill the art cabinets as well as new skills and more complex workshops.

Interspersed throughout are sidebar essays that introduce perspectives on mess-making, imperfection, the role of adult, collaborative art, and thoughts on the Reggio Emilia method, a self-guided teaching philosophy. These pieces underscore the value of art-making with children, and support the parent/teacher/care-giver on how to successfully lead, question, and navigate their children through the workshops to result in the fullest experiences. 

BOOK REVIEWS ON AMAZON                                                                                                   EVENTS

“A mighty flame follows a tiny spark.”
-Dante Alighieri

January 17, 2017

Exciting to see that Art Workshop for Children has been picked up by a German publisher. Their version feels just right!

November 21, 2016

(Excerpt from Art Workshop - Essay by Betsy McKenna)

"The late founder of the Reggio Emilia approach, Loris Malaguzzi, revolutionized the image of  the young child. He spoke about the 100 languages of children and the image of the child being capable, competent and full of potential. 

Every child is capable. Every child is competent. This I believe. As adults, it is our responsibility to help our child gain a better understanding of who they are in relation to their surroundings. We must help draw attention to and place value on the unique way in which each child views its ever-changing world. In schools we place emphasis the spoken and written language to express our ideas, yet we must not limit the child to these two forms of expression. We must provide additional experiences that inspire to the child to communicate their thoughts and ideas through their 98 other languages. ”

November 16, 2016

An energizing and joyful event hosted by Portfolio School whose mission celebrates the celebrates a creative educational process through meaningful project based learning experiences for elementary aged students - check out this inspiring leadership team of visionaries!  

Bar and I read excerpts of Art Workshop for Children while participants experienced process art while 

the group shared ideas around the meaning of creativity!

For more information on upcoming events click HERE.

November 14, 2016

(Excerpt from Art Workshop - Essay by Betsy McKenna)

"The role of adult is complex. There is no formula. 

At the time of my first child’s birth, I remember thinking I was fortunate to have had years of experience in the classroom as early childhood teacher. Yet, as parent it was different and it wasn’t easy. There were so many experts in the field with so many approaches from which too choose. I had to become my own parent expert. I had to navigate the waters based on instinct and intuition. I had to go with my gut.

The uncharted territory became less daunting when I granted myself the time to understand myself as parent and even more importantly, understand more about my child. Over the

years, and three children later, this is what I have come to know and understand:

Each child has a unique personality. Each child has its own temperament. I needed to parent accordingly. How?”

Older Posts >

Please reload