Art nurtures soul. Most of us know that, but only some of us give importance to an art class. It is true that early childhood kids are naturally interested in art. They enjoy scribbling, coloring and drawing. They are full of imagination but, sadly, it slowly fades away when they grow up and enroll to a school. Formal education does not allow enough time for this gift from nature to grow. Art call for preschoolers tries its best to keep this creative seed alive and to provide room for it to grow strong in adulthood’s wind.
Each term covers 8 sessions which focuses on different particular theme. For this term we talked about trees. By this I did not mean that we asked students to sketch trees as how we saw them. Rather, we had trees as a main source of inspiration for our art work, studying them through process of art making. There are still very few experiences in their lives to cognitively process conceptual idea. As a result, first-handed experiences are crucial for this age group. They learn best by seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, sensing them in a way most appropriate.
The whole trees were deconstructed into simpler forms which are easier for kids to appreciate. The whole class went out to our garden to look at real trees. They could go to the trees as close as they wanted, touching or hugging them. They were encouraged by teachers to follow the tree trunk and branches with their hands drawing in the air following the contour of the trees. They were told to look up and observe curve and criss-cross lines of branches, strong thick lines of trunks, small dots of leaves and beautiful color of flowers. Apart from observing the trees in the arts center’s garden, kids also had a chance to see photos of trees from other parts of the world. From real trees and photos of trees, we saw straight lines, curve lines, wavy lines, and zig-zag lines. Some lines were short, while some lines were long. Some were thick, and some were thin.
The next learning process is to translate all those lines onto paper. It was the most difficult part out of the whole process. The young artists tried drawing many kinds of lines, thick and thin, long and short, straight and curve, curly and wavy. They tried on different kinds of paper, different sizes, different textures, and different colors, using various tools and mediums. Actually this was a process of sharping their skill which could be tedious but with a sense of a playful experiment together with story telling, kids were engaged throughout. We spent a few sessions for this practice and at the end of the terms, each student had quite a number of different paper with many kinds of lines on them, including big mahjong paper which was bigger than kids themselves. It is a collection of lines of each individual not just practicing paper. You can think of these lines as alphabets. To be able to make words, you need to know the alphabets first. Similarly, to make art works, it is easier if you have some collection of lines ready to be used.
Next blog I will show you how the young artists put together their artistic mark making to turn them into artwork.