Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The BIG portraits continue

Today was all about skin colour and hair colour...

The children looked carefully in the mirror at the colour of their skin... we looked to see if we were all the same colour or not... and we worked out that we all had our own special skin colour unique to ourselves. They ALL though felt that orange was the colour that they needed to start with... this surprised me a great deal - and I wondered if they would all turn out like carrots... but bit by bit the skin colours took their shade... with white, yellow, brown and red being added in different amounts until everyone was satisfied. They kept checking in the mirror, and even paiting a little on themselves to see if the shade was right..

The they got busy painting the skin areas of their portraits... different techniques, different amounts of focus and different amounts of verbal support needed. The child that had been so reluctant at first and that I had helped by drawing his portrait in the beginning has proved I made the right decision... (one does get a little nervous) he has thoroughly enjoyed the painting process and is not the slightest bit ashamed of sharing the fact that he did not draw the outline... he has taken a great deal of care in filling in the colour.

Compared with last year there is a huge difference between doing this activity with two children and seven children... there is not the same time and patience to enter the same depth of dialogue around the similarities and differences of skin colour... but there was still the opportunity for this group of seven to explore these ideas.

Afterwards the children admired their artwork and I noticed that they were talking about it on an individual level... that one is beautiful and that one too... I only heard positive comments. I dropped a casual comment about how I thought the fact that the whole of the group was represented on this piece of art made it beautiful... they paused and looked at the art again... yes there are eight of us... 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.. let me count too.... 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8... we are all there.

it is so fascinating to take the time to listen and hear how the children see and view what they are doing... since we were working individually, yet together the children had not seen the togetherness until pointed out... they had been so focussed on their individual efforts.

The individual and the group... that is what preschool is all about... This painting has a whole new symbollic value for me now.


  1. I have always like this post about portraits, and wonder if now I could do this with my 3 year olds. How did you start this project? Such and interesting and fun project. Would love to know how long it took, the ages and the steps to doing it :)

    Good day.

    1. the children were 4 and 5 yrs doing this project... it might be possible with younger ones...

      I start with plastic (I laminate without paper in it) and use paper clips to fasten a photo portrait of the children. The children then use a permanant marker... I did this one by one to give the children support... to help them think about the shape of the face, where the lines were and to keep to the outlines not to colour in... for many children there is an automatic for colouring in...

      Then in the next session I put the plastic sheet with outlines onto a overhead so the portrait is projected onto paper I have put up... I divide the paper into as many sections as a need for the group. The childrn work in pairs to draw on the paper the outlines with pencil.

      Then when all portraits are done, they then work in pairs in the light to paint black on the pencil. They get some help from us teachers to alllow the process to go a bit quicker and to reach some of the spots that are a little higher. Depending on the children and their focus abaility... the most important is taking part...

      Then the next session is colouring in... the background first... then the week after the face... then one more to finish off...

      We did this once a week... so it never got too overwhelming as a project... and the children were very excited to do it.

    2. oh this is brilliant! I want to try it. The children in the classroom are 3 years old the youngest in the kindergarten. February intake. They are still settling in and learning about the new environment, however outdoor play and messy play is on the agenda nearly everyday. They love it. We don't have a strict curriculum to follow, only 5 outcomes and we can do what we like to get them there, so I am choosing (as much as I can) the Reggio approach. It is not easy as resources are very limited. I will show you the results of this :) , thank you as always and I know I must have said this already, but your posts and blog are my inspiration. :) good day x