Friday, 18 January 2013

Artistic Endeavours

Being a teacher of the young, I have spent a lot of time exploring, observing and reading about the stages of artistic development. I have seen this progression in many children over the years. I've consoled many parents that children NEED to go through these stages, to accept it and support them.

Exploratory 'scribbles' at first, then marks with meanings, through to identifiable images, and then refinement. Each new medium needs to start at the beginning again.

The theory of this, I know. When watching MY son continue to 'scribble', year after year, when I know he can do more symbolic drawings, I find rather frustrating. I find myself getting cross, and dis-interested in doing artistic things with him. I am not satisfied with what he is producing.... I CAN HEAR MY SELF CRINGE!!! It isn't about what he produces, it is the process.... although I believe this with every cell of my body, I still find myself getting frustrated. At times he produces a stunning, identifiable picture and shows me that he is capable, he just chooses not to... WHY!!!

I have realized that I don't value 'scribble' as I feel less comfortable with it. I don't feel as though I can talk with him about his art as much. I see his peers move forward and want him to do the same. I also know that where he is going to kindy, children communicate a lot of their ideas and concepts though drawing... if he can't do that will he get as much out of kindy?
When visiting a friends house who has children a similar age, I noticed that her children got drawing and painting out as a self directed activity on a regular basis. All of the sudden it occurred to me... I HAD NEGLECTED TO PROVIDE AN ART SPACE AT HOME!!!  Why hadn't I thought of that! All of the programs that I run at school are art rich. We get art stuff out at home, but not everyday. Every time Orlando came to the art experiences it was different, he never had the opportunity to revisit the same experiences. Therefore he never had the space to practice and build on his skills... he was always needing to start back at the beginning.

Well, now I felt like I had all the answers! I went home, re-arranged the play-space,  and brought all the art materials out of the cupboard and onto a self-help shelf. It isn't free slather, there are still things put away for special experiences, but there is a range of mediums out for use when ever creative inspiration hits. 

The kids and I found some attractive bowls to present the materials in and organised everything they needed. Here is a list of a few of the things we choose to include:
- Paint brushes
- Water colour paints (washes off nearly everything)
- Chalk
- Crayons - oil, soy, and wax
- Chalk Pastles
- Textas
- Pens
- Pencils - Coloured, lead, charcoal
- Stickers
- Collage materials
- Sticky tape
- Glue
- Paper - office paper, lined paper, thick water colour paper, diaries, scrap books etc
- Ink and Paint pads
- Rubber stamps
- Scissors
- Paper punches - ones the hole punch pictures 
- Pencil cases full of craft materials like pom poms, pipe cleaners, string etc etc
- Playdough and tools

Matilda 3 : "Roses that are not open yet"
We also brought 6 A4 frames. Three each to present the kids art works. The kids get to choose what goes into each frame and if they create a piece they like better then we swap it over.
Orlando 5: Undersea animals

Presenting children's artworks in respectful ways, shows them that you value their effort and their creative process. I also happen to think it looks stunning!

So, with our space created, it has been used multiple times a day by both of the kids and they adore having the frames to display their artistic creations. I am happy, they are happy, the space looks beautiful. 

Have you got any interesting ways that you respectfully display your children's artwork? If you do, I would love to hear about it!

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