We have now been adding to the "Together" Painting for seven days and I am beginning to feel that this is is as much as the paper can deal with... and next week new paper should go up on the easel... with new colours.
I have experimented with the number of children, the number of colours and techniques available to the children...
I noticed that the sponges were popular as an idea and got some different children interested in coming to the easel BUT they did not keep the children at the easel for very long... once they had explored and experienced the sponges dab dab dabbing on the paper they put them down... there has been a definite preference for the paint brushes...
I have also noticed that for some of the children their concentration has really, and I mean REALLY grown. From just a few strokes in the beginning to now being at the easel for 10-15 minutes and interacting with friends, sharing colours, sharing the stories behind what they are painting. The TOGETHER painting really is bringing the children TOGETHER.
Today there were four colours available... meaning four children could work at the easel at the same time. This was no problem at all... there was no competetion for space, or colours... but co-operation and an openness.
Starting with just two children and very controlled in turn taking by me.. to now being totally free for the children to come and go and for there to be four children collaborating TOGETHER - in just seven days. It feels quite satisfying to handing some control of the atelier over to the children. As the children become more confident in their negotiations at the easel then it will be time to let them get the paints out themselves... this IS a group that needs adult interaction to help them. So I am in no hurry, I want them to learn how to swim before casting them out into the deep end! AND to have a whole heap of fun splashing in the shallow end as they discover their own compence!
This is how the Together Painting started