Sunday, December 4, 2011

intentional experiences

I mentioned that I would soon write a post to connect the dots - to share what the seemingly random musings about paper and puddles are all about. Well, every experience is meaningful, whether it is connected to something perceived as bigger or not. Every experience is big. However, there is a context that I want to share.

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.
So, where will it all go? Well, we don't really know. That is the beauty of it all. We will listen, we will observe, we will reflect, and we will value the importance of each experience for what it is - not for what we want it to become.


  1. This post is wonderful - i am a great believer in treating children as artist and providing good quality materials - would you tell Picasso how to use pastels or paint or direct his creations?

  2. Thank you Lesley. one of the great perks of receiving a comment is that I get to find new, inspirational blogs. I love your writing at early play...I will be a frequent reader from now on!



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