Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Self portraits

Half of Vinden children did self portraits before Christmas... the intention was for all the children to do a self portrait, but there was just not the interest, so time and energy was invested in following what the children were actually interested in.

I tested again today to see if the children had a new interest in drawing self portraits (just with pencil) - and there was new interest again. So today 6 of the 11 children in Vinden sat down with one to one interaction with me. For some of these children this was the first time... for one of the children it was the first time I saw a face/figure being drawn at preschool. So it felt exciting... for me and the children.

We looked in the mirror together and talked about what we could see and how we could draw that on the small piece of paper. I start small because my experience over the years with early portraits is that most children feel comfortable exploring self portraits in a limited amount of space... almost as if there is some kind of security in the size of the paper... some of the children filled the paper... others made small faces even for the paper...

I like watching how they hold their pencils, how hard or light the press the pen on the paper, how they choose to draw and in what order... it is so fascinating to see the great variety.
I offer support... primarily in the beginning to slow down and look closely - as there is a tendency to get going and then continue in automatic, feeling shapes and the movement of the pencil rather than trying to capture themselves on paper. Two of the children I encouraged to start again, this they did willingly, as they just started with a series of random circles in rapid succession rather than drawing the face and then pause to look closely again... once they were in the rhythm of pausing and looking the more details they saw and the more interested they became in what they were doing.

Two of the children had done portraits before Christmas, so it was interesting to see the development... sometimes the devlopment is seen in the process rather than the product - in other words in the ease that the child had drawing the self portrait. It is why I like to sit with them individually, so that I can scaffold if they need it, but also so that I can see their processes - so that I can better work out how I can support each child in their own unique developmental journey. What sort of activities would be good - for example those children with handgrips that make drawing less precise could do with more time climbing trees, and hanging on monkey bars etc to strengthen their hand muscles... so I can plan with Ellen which parks we should go to that will enhance writing skills through gross motor skill practice... etc etc

Already we have seen how the self-portraits have inspired the children... especially the child who draw a figure for the first time - as in the afternoon the child sat down and drew a family of figures... parents and sister with the sea behind (which had a little look of using perspective).

Hopefully the interest in self portraits holds for a while - and the whole group will sit down at some point and draw one...

looking closely. Using the photo I put up on Filosofiska facebook page... we will be putting a little more up on that page in English from both preschools, if you are interested you can pop by and take a look.
the family drawn later... and one very proud child (two very proud teachers) - and most importantly so happy that we have waited until the children were ready. Yes, we see many places doing amazing things... and yes I am itching to do many amazing things with the children, BUT I enjoy the AMAZING things that the children are interested and ready for... we wait with patience, as we believe in the competence of children, and that when they are ready, there will be more joy.

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