On April 16th, as part of my A to Z posts relating terms from the arts to writing, I talked about the stages of a child’s understanding of art, culminating in the stage of “naming” – being able to tell a story about their scribbled art works.
One of my real-life friends, who follows my blog and often emails with great insights on the blog topic of the day, emailed that day with wonderful stories from her time as a preschool teacher. With her permission, I’m sharing some of that email, along with photographs of a few of the paintings created by her small students.
If encouraged, children can be so creative, and they seem to innately love making representations of the world around them. It is so important to give them the freedom to express themselves however feels “right” to them. It is far too easy to squelch that creativity. Colleen obviously knew how to encourage, judging from both her comments, and the kids’ art.
Colleen: I especially loved their art and drawing and painting (that was my specialty) and reading. I often tied the two together and was fortunate to end up with a lot of books that related to art. I always let them just ‘do’ what they wanted and when dry, would write on the back what it was – hoping to encourage the parents to talk to them about their art. I know for some children, it was always hard when their parents just kind of dismissed it and went on talking to the other parents. We underestimate the pride they have in those first lines and splashes.
Colleen: I also felt that after I gave them that first push of “do what you want” I could then suggest how to paint a tree or a rainbow or whatever without making them feel they couldn’t. We all need to learn to progress. I remember one little boy painted an all black rainbow (I had to think “it is a black and white photo”) and then tell him how good he did!!! Who knows – I think he eventually moved up to a purple rainbow!!
Colleen: Some classes were just more advanced than others. At the end of the year I would buy plasticine and give them a piece of card paper and say make a picture. I was always amazed what they could do at 4!!!!!
Beth: I’m certainly delighted with the colors, the creativity, and the joy that shines forth from these pictures. It would be my hope for all children to have the opportunity at some stage of their development to have a teacher who is so enthusiastic about artistic expression, and who knows how to encourage each child. Thanks so much, Colleen, for sharing with us. (Stay tuned on Wednesday, when we’ll hear from two very creative kids – Erik and Josie!)
All artwork provided by Colleen, and posted with her permission. Thanks, Colleen!