Red Flowers with Green Leaves

Professional Development Coordinator Sadie Bonifas blogs about children’s art experiences…

 Over the holidays, I visited programs and was happy to see lots of children’s artwork displayed on the walls. Displaying children’s artwork is a great way to encourage pride and showcase children’s work to parents. However, as I walked around the classrooms, I saw elves, snowmen, and coloring in out-lined drawings, which is clearly following an adult-made model.

 It made me think back to a poem I read (or was it song lyrics), about a little boy, who on the first day of school wanted to paint flowers of all different colors. The boy’s teacher told him that the flowers had to be red and the leaves had to be green. When he moved and went to a new school, the teacher wanted painting to be fun so she put out many colors. But the boy only painted red flowers with green leaves in neat rows.

 Children need freedom of expression, especially young children who are just exploring and learning. Provide lots of materials to explore art, such as paper, markers, crayons, paint, scissors, and glue. Show children how to use the materials, but not what to make or create. Talk to the child and ask questions about what they are creating. When a child is given an example of the end product or told what to create, she doesn’t have room to make choices, to explore, or to learn. When children follow an adult model of art, what results, is children who don’t have confidence in their own abilities to explore and the result is red flowers with green leaves in neat rows.

 Posted by julie on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 6:45 PM