Drawing the Road-diggers and Green Mat Neighbourhood

The first half of this post was meant to be for last week, but somehow the time got away on us! Busy days at the Centre…

Drawing the Road-diggers: One day at the end of May, small groups of children from each Daycare were allowed to take a Teacher or two to go look at the road construction out front.

Some children were engaged in watching and discussing the road-digging without feeling the need to draw, but others took up pencil crayons and made sketches of the process on bright pink paper.

R___ paid attention to the dirt flying from shovel to dump truck bed – notice all her squiggly lines!

A___ was captivated by the flashing, spinning yellow light on the top of the truck. Notice the yellow section on the left side of the drawing.

Drawing is one of the (hundreds) of languages of children that, we believe, surpasses that of most adults in expressiveness. Artists and children have a lot in common – most-of-all, the ability to represent and interpret an experience or idea in a fluid, uninhibited way. Those with a narrow perception of “What is Art” can learn a lot from 3-5-year-olds.

On this topic:

As your blogger and communications person at CPCC, I wonder sometimes about which projects to include in the Atelier blog. My rule seems to be that projects should be “art-based”, and that the children must have played a major or full role in the creation of something tangible. But this is tricky when I believe “art” can be defined in so many ways:

Art is play with materials.

Art can be temporary (mandalas, sand-castles and etch-a-sketches)

Art can be made of anything (Marcel Duchamp for Early Childhood Educators).

So I may (or may not) be bending my rules here by including the Green Mat Neighbourhood, but so what?

There is art, also, in superb teaching…

The story of the neighbourhood: One child, in an emotional moment, expressed the need for some private personal space. A teacher took this opportunity to create a structure out of our sleeping mats in the gross-motor/nap room for the child to have the option of being alone for a while. Soon enough, the resident was feeling better and opened up the door and invited other children inside to share the space. More “houses” sprang up, and soon the kids were excitedly declaring “We’re Neighbours!” and “We live together!”

This activity was repeated on a following day, and the children’s actual addresses were posted on the outsides as a way to practice learning them. There also emerged a game of Rescue where some children became fire-fighters that saved a Neighbour from a fire.

Learning along the way: Concepts of Private and Public space, sharing, fire safety, helping out neighbours, home addresses, social interactions, creative use of materials!

I’m wondering about ways to offer to bring these themes into hands-on construction… Perhaps a repeat of the 3D glue-gun cardboard city that the preschoolers work on.

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2 responses to “Drawing the Road-diggers and Green Mat Neighbourhood

  1. Beautiful blog, thank you!

    Another idea for houses and towns, a little easier than a big cardboard city. If you could borrow or scrounge some old bed sheets (holes welcome) or large but light towels , these can be draped and clothespinned over strings tied between chairs and other objects. Might provide knot-tying and other topological experiences as well as home-building. If the sheets don’t have to be returned to their owners, they could have addresses, windows, doors, doorbells, garage doors etc. painted onto them. Later they’d serve as floor sheets. Could combine all that with the mats, cardboard, or whatever comes to hand as walls.

  2. My little guy was very excited to report back on the “neighbourhood”. Thanks for all your great ideas!

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