Posts Tagged ‘thought-provoking’

Red flower with a green stemI attended a class a few years ago during the time that I owned Awesome Beginnings Childcare. The class was on fostering creativity in children. Our instructor had us make a flower. It was a red flower with a green stem. She handed out a green paper with the outlines of a stem and petals and a red paper with the outline of a flower. She wanted us to cut the parts and then glue them on another paper. She gave us exact instructions on how she wanted us to make the flower, including how far from the bottom edge of the paper we should glue the stem.

Some of us “children” in the class were told that since we didn’t know how to use a scissors very well, she had already cut our flower parts for us. Some of us “children” in the class were told that we make a mess when we use bottles of glue, so, she had provided us with glue sticks. The meaning of all of this was that children in an early childhood setting are all at different stages in their development. This teacher wanted the “finished product” to be just like her sample, so, she had to take our developmental stage into consideration when providing us with materials, equipment and instructions.

When we were finished making our flowers, they all looked the same. They all looked just like the teachers. They were all red flowers with green stems.

This class was one of the most memorable, thought-provoking classes I have ever attended. It emphasized the importance of process-oriented, child-directed art versus product-oriented, teacher-directed “crafts”.

Child-directed art is about the process, not the product. It is about the experience, not about learning the “correct way”. It’s about experimenting.

Here is the inspirational poem that we were given after we had finished our project.

The Little Boy by Helen E. Buckley

Published in “Children and Creativity” by Ronald L. Pitzer
University of Minnesota, Agriculture Extension Service
Family Development Program

Once a little boy went to school.
One morning,
When the little boy had been in school awhile,
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked to make pictures.
He could make all kinds.
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows, trains and boats.
He took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said: “Wait!
It is not time to begin!”
And she waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now,” said the teacher,
“We are going to make flowers.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked to make flowers,
And he began to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said, “Wait!
And I will show you how.”
And it was red, with a green stem.
“There,” said the teacher.
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s.
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than the teacher’s.
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over
And made a flower like the teacher’s.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day, the teacher said:
“Today we are going to make something with clay.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked clay.

He could make all kinds of things with clay.
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice, cars and trucks.
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said:
“Wait! It is not time to begin!”
And she waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now,” said the teacher,
“We are going to make a dish.”
He liked to make dishes.
And he began to make some
That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said, “Wait!
And I will show you how.”
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
“There,” said the teacher.
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish.
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his dishes better than the teacher’s.
But he did not say this.
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again.
And made a dish like the teacher’s.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait,
And to watch,
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn’t make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house.
In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.

And the very first day
He was there,
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy,
And he waited for the teacher
To tell him what to do.
But the teacher didn’t say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy
She said, “Don’t you want to make a picture?”
“Yes,” said the little boy,
“What are we going to make?”
“I don’t know until you make it,”
Said the teacher.
“How shall I make it?” asked the little boy.
“Why, any way you like,” said the teacher.
“And any color?” asked the little boy.
“If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colors,
How would I know who made what,
And which was which?”
“I don’t know,” said the little boy,
And he began to make a red flower with a green stem.

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I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that, then I realized I AM SOMEBODY!

EVERYONE can make a DIFFERENCE!