Sunday, August 5, 2012



It's a blazing hot day in Tucson, Arizona.  You sit down to dinner and even though it's still in the 90's, many of us in the Southwest crave a bite of "Chile" with our food.  From the oldest to the youngest, it's part of our culture.  

In one of the preschool classrooms I have the great honor of working with, at Sunnyside Head Start, their brilliant teachers chose the topic of "Chiles"as a place to start a project.  Children brought their own knowledge of:

1) What is a Chile?
2) What does a Chile taste like?
3) What is the shape of a Chile?
4) What color is a Chile?
5) Are Chiles all the same?

The children in our part of the country bring a lot of prior knowledge about chiles.  This led to the creation of Artwork.  It led to:


One of the key areas this preschool center is fantastic at, is engaging parent involvement and having children and parents discuss things at home so that children then come back with more information to share with classmates and teachers.  Imagine all that can be learned.

In this case children learned that "chiles are fruit" that are a part of their culture and that there are "many types of chiles" used in their homes.  Their parents use them for:

1) Cooking
2) As a spicy condiment
3) Used in different dishes
4) Used in Candy

Chiles are also part of the garden at this center and teachers and children grow a variety of them together.

CHILE-INSPIRED ART!                                                                                                                        In the photo below, you can see preschool children creating Art from their "PRIOR KNOWLEDGE."  This makes the creating of the Art more meaningful to them and is a great place to connect children with improvising and exploring the use of different "perspectives".  

1) Can the Chile's be used to create shapes?
2) What kind of shapes can you create?


What I really love about the piece of child-created Art below, in addition to it coming from the child's knowledge and culture, is that it's authentic to the child's perspective of Art.  Bravo Sunnyside!!!


How do you feel when someone displays or highlights your work in a positive light?  We all love it, don't we?  It's important to take the time to display children's artwork, but what makes the image below unique is that THEY DISPLAYED THE PROCESS with images and quotes (see final image below)!

Wow.... we all know the process is very important, but to be able to display the process is truly powerful for children, parents, and teachers.

I hope everyone has a great month of August.  I know I'm really looking forward to seeing my many little friends at many centers around the country and my many teacher friends as well!

See you amidst all the laughter and joy!

P.S. Our website is under renovation, but you can still visit our old website at  For more information on what we do, check out the book Living Like a Child.


  1. It seems like fun to teach kids this chilly art. It can help the children to know its use is so many things. We can also try other ideas too like this.I will try dis for Preschools Fees structure. Really nice post congrats!!

    1. Thanks Chris! This particular preschool center is really amazing. They have engaged the children with wire-made sculptures, "committee" games, and much more. Check out my earlier posts and you'll see what I'm referring to. Cheers!

  2. I love that the school really emphasized the process in their chili pepper art project! Of course, the results are beautiful, too! I pinned your post to my Kids' Art Projects Board at


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