Imagine an art room, filled with materials and tools. An orderly ‘disorder’…there are just so many units and objects defining line, shape, color, form, motion, texture, pattern, direction, orientation, scale, angle, space and proportion!
Now imagine the room filled with young learners, 3 years of age, waiting patiently with art smocks on, seated, keenly following instructions, asked to “sit please” with hands folded in their laps, while the paint pallets, paint brushes and water cups in front of them, beacon these tiny hands to get into the thick of it…but they do not. The children are listening.
They are listening to the atelierista explain, a pumpkin, its stem and the vine it grows on. The children are asked to remember the pumpkins they had begun to paint during their last Studio class. Heads are nodding as the memory of their painting comes back to them.
(In Studio, these young learners are mentored to think carefully about the object they are to create… “let’s make it look real”, they are encouraged. And they do!)
Last Studio sessions’ paintings are returned to each child and they are to complete their pumpkins, not with a scribble of the brush, but rather, with the proper stroke, to create nature’s crown on the pumpkin, its stem. How wonderful to see the tiny stems take shape. Some children struggle…it is not easy for these little hands to control a brush with glistening, bright colours of paint to create just one single stroke!
Suddenly they see their orange ovals, created in a previous session, turn into pumpkins and some young artists even remember to create the vine…circling their groups of pumpkins with a continuous stroke, imitating true pumpkins as they might grow in a farmer’s field.
The completed paintings are collected, and a clean sheet is presented.
Now corn on the cob is passed among the little hands. “Touch it, feel it, look carefully at it, what do you see?”
These little ones are asked, to mix their yellow paint, with their blue paint, with their red paint; mind you with only one tiny fingertip (!), to recreate kernels of corn on their blank page. Tiny index fingers, carefully dip into the colours, and move to the page, and kernels of corn materialize of the page!
Time is up, we must tidy up…some hands are covered in paint…the technique didn’t quite work…the bright colours were just tooooooo tempting to not mix with vigour into the palms of one’s hand…yet incredibly…..there are hands among the group, that have only one teeny, tiny index finger, whose tip has a wonderful blend of yellow, blue and red paint upon it….waiting to be washed!
I am only a visitor in the classroom…”would I like to assist the Prekindergarten children during art today”, I was asked this morning?
Oh my! I am ready! Appropriately protected with my art smock, because everyone knows that three year olds can’t control paint!
I am somewhat surprised to report, that I did not have a single drop of paint on my art smock by the end of class, and there were magnificent, most recognizable paintings of pumpkins and kernels of corn lying on table tops waiting to dry… I have learned that children, even these littlest and youngest learners, can be expected and taught to do most wonderful things!
Given the proper parameters, guidance and tools, these little ones can do anything!
Prepared by: Nancy Neumann-Causi, Administrative Assistant