This year two interests have emerged from the children, one being a serious love of water and the other being an equally intense love of puppets. As Ms. Anny and I took these two interests and planned possibilities and provocations, we thought about the skills (potentially) helpful for children. I have been reading Ann Pelo's The Language Art and this quote struck me as such an important reminder.
As children become more comfortable and skillful with these media, they are able to use them to communicate their understandings, emotions, and questions, Their fluency in a range of art "languages," in turn, opens new possibilities for collaboration and dialogue, for taking new perspectives, and for deepening their relationships with each other.This is our privilege - to support children in knowing the different "languages" available for expressing their ideas, emotions, learning, and questions.
The Language of Clay
As we created anticipatory plans for a puddle and water project we considered how children might represent their learning later in the project. As the playground and manhole covers are central to this - we felt that three-dimensional representation could be important. From this idea we worked backward - determining that observation (and observational drawing) would be an important "language" and would be necessary for any three-dimensional representation to occur. We also felt that experiences with clay would be key.
Do we know if this is where children will take the project? That is a resounding - no - but the language of observational drawing and clay can now be part of their toolbox for communicating and representing. That is our job - to give children the tools. Support them, in learning new skills in using a medium and tools. Then watch what they build.
The Language of Paper
We wanted children to really know the qualities and possibilities of paper and cardboard. These explorations, so intrinsically valuable, will later lead to inviting children to use paper and cardboard to create puppet characters. We want children to feel confident in their abilities to wield tools and materials - to make meaning with the material.