The process of learning is amazing to behold. Especially when you have the opportunity to collaborate for years with creative and progressive programs. One such organization is Child-Parent Centers, Inc., an exemplary Head Start program in Tucson.
This blog is dedicated to their children, teachers and parents.
|Enrique C. Feldman, Founder|
Global Learning Foundation, Artist,
and Children's Book Author
I had taken a break for a from my blogging with so many wonderful projects which have taken my complete focus. Those projects are surfacing now and so am I! To preface all the beautiful images you're going to see, which are examples of children's work with materials, I want to make something very clear. This blog and the children's work it highlights are much more than cute & cool.
The work you're seeing is the byproduct of weeks and in some cases months of:
- Teachers asking children great questions
- Children and Teachers having authentic conversations
- Exploring with materials before deciding on which ones to use
With that in mind... up, up and away!
The role of materials is essential to creating invitations for any aged learner to explore, consider, strive and eventually THRIVE! Take a good look at the first image below. Which do you think the child started with? Which one took longer? Why? Notice that I love to use questions, even with you, the reader... why do I choose to do that? (I encourage you to use the comment section below)
WHAT & WHY
As adult learners we quite often ask questions starting with "What?" Nothing wrong with that and certainly, sometimes it is a great word to use. What about why? lol... couldn't help myself!
What would the world look like if we asked "Why?" more often? For example, with the next image, I could ask a infinite number of questions. How about this one...
Why do you think this child chose to create this structure/image? Is there a central focus, and if so, was this done on purpose? Hmmmmm..... I can hear you thinking and I love that sound... silence... the sound of thinking! Let's remember to embrace the silence once we ask a question. Many of us adults ask a question, followed by the sound of our own voice, again speaking.... I know I do sometimes.... embrace the sound of thinking, that glorious silence, especially when working with young children.
SYMMETRY and ASYMMETRY
Now hold on....these are pretty big words for preschool children, right? Not really. There was a time when I would have thought so. In my many years of working with children, my experience has shown me that:
- When you embody the thing you are learning, you can learn anything, including advanced vocabulary.
- When you offer any aged learner the chance to learn with different approaches, you elevate their level of engagement.
- When you offer different ways of experiencing the same concept, you by default introduce the idea of "transference of knowledge" (understanding how concepts make sense in different areas of study).
3D and 2D
#Whynot? The ever popular fortress image! I know I loved forts when I was little... but wait, is this a fort? What else could it be? How many different things could this represent? And, do we take the time to have these kinds of conversations with our youngest learners.... how about our older learners?
The ability to see images in our own head in both 2D and 3D is very closely related to our ability to visualize.... so, is this just an image of a fort? I think we should all think about how empowering this kind of work can be for learner and teacher/parent!
MATERIALS and COLOR
So what is a young child thinking when they choose a color? Did they know that the blue and the red would provide fantastic contrast? Did they first explore other colors? Does that thing in the center turn or twist? If so, why?
Are the questions we ask more important than the "answers"? I have my opinion and I encourage you to consider your response.
BALANCE and FUNCTION
I wonder what this child knows about balance? I wonder if the word "Fulcrum" was introduced? I wonder if they first saw something like this in real life.
Should we keep wondering? Should we model wondering?
Depending on your personality type, you might be wondering, "but what are the exact steps to take when having children work with blocks and creating visual art?" May I suggest a different question? Perhaps...
- What kind of materials do your children enjoy the most?
- Have you asked them why?
- What kinds of real life objects excite your children the most?
- Have you asked them why?
- Can you find materials and objects that interest your children?
- Can you connect these materials and objects to words, math, and science?
I'm looking forward to my July 10 blog, which will be a very special one indeed, titled "The Art of Living".... and now that I think about it, my August 10 blog will be just as special, titled "Sam the Ant - the hero in us all!"
Enrique C. Feldman
Founder, Global Learning Foundation
Performing Artist and Composer
Author, Living Like a Child
Creator, iBG, Intellectual Brainwave Games (coming soon)
Co-Creator, The Inner Journey Theatrical Show
Co-Author of Sam the Ant, a new kind of children's book series (coming soon)
Producer, Kaleidoscope (Children's Album in consideration for a Grammy 2017)