“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life”
“We have to let it go. It probably feels like it’s in jail.” David, age 5
A few days ago, I had a group of Kindergarten children in the studio. We were discussing different ways to use color in our sketches. Since they had sketched magical creatures of the garden, we were discussing how to make colors “glow”.
Owen was particularly excited about the possibilities of line and color. He kept adding to his picture while narrating what the line or color represented. Suddenly he looked up an exclaimed.
“We’re writing stories by drawing a picture!”
I will follow Owen’s lead in this post and use pictures to tell some of the stories from the studio over the last 2 weeks:
PreK’s invented over 40 colors for the use of all the students at SWS
With the the new paint colors, and photographs of school memories, the preK’s painted their first observational paintings.
When the anatomy of mark making meets paint- the wonder of watching unfolds…
Each child exhibited their visual thinking strategies. For some it was all about choosing just the right colors and enjoying the qualities of swirling the paints together on the paper.
For other, some representational brush strokes to show a fish or a butterfly or flower was pleasing.
George however, blew my mind. He methodically painted a solid black background, using brush strokes.
He then added the green lily pads in the foreground by using the the brush in a different way, as seen in the below photo.
He used another green to represent the lifted lily pad leaves, and finally added white petals of the lotus, with detailed yellow dots in the center. I just sat and watched from a chair with my mouth hanging open. Watching a young 4 year old deconstruct and then recreate an image is a rare thing. Creative thinking and the brain continues to be a complete wonder to me.
and then from observing thinking to making visible the magic in the imagination-
While searching for gnomes and fairies, Lilah found a worm.
And then there were some sightings of little creatures, for some.
And then to the studio to sketch what might be living in and among the garden.
The following week, we looked critically at color.
How can you use color to make something “glow?”
We looked through books of illustrations, and the children returned to their sketchbooks to add color.
In the book, The One Hundred Languages of Children, there is an essay about the importance of the use of light and projection in Reggio Schools. The essay observes that many adults go through their day, not noticing or experiencing the light, shadow, transparency, translucence around them, and how it transforms and changes places and objects. It states that this is quite a shame to be missing out on such an important element that is vital to our lives. The following story brings me much joy:
Last Wednesday morning, I was walking my dog. It was 6:30 am, and it was garbage day in my neighborhood. As I went up the street, lo and behold, someone had thrown out an enormous mirrored disco ball. I went over to it, heart pounding and examined it. A few mirrors missing and a small dent. But it was too big to carry and walk my dog. So my poor dog was dragged through his walk, so I could get home and drive to the mirrored sphere and put it in my trunk.
When I got to work, I decided to place it on the floor of the studio and turn on one of the overhead projectors to shine on it.
This was to be a pure provocation.
No announcements of it’s arrival or declaration as to what one could do with it. I sat back and watched.
I watched joy and discovery, quiet flickers of solo encounters
and group interactions that danced, shouted and whispered.
I watched mystery and suspense.
I watched poetry.
And still, I watch.
It is fascinating and engaging for both the children and myself.
So as we ponder what is educational, what is creative, what is important, what is hands on, what is intuitive, what is learned, what is science, what is thinking, what is collaborative and what is reflective…let us remember the possibilities of this encounter.
“Light is the symbol of truth.” James Russell Lowell
The week was filled with the combination of color, light, form, shape, & projection all inspired by the two fluttering Monarchs that filled the studio with a special aura.
By Friday, it was time to set the last two magical creatures free.
The evidence of this experience continues wholehearted.
“For the child. . . it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused – a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love – then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response . . . It is more important to pave the way for a child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts that he is not ready to assimilate.” –Rachel Carson