A boy and his flowers

What happens when a child is given access and time to pursue his fascination with painting flowers?
December 15th 2014

Open access to varied art media can result in some fascinating studies by children. I've long believed that art is a language, and children show us over and over again, through their art, what is interesting or puzzling for them. In this case, an active four year old boy spent several days at an easel, and it all began with a simple invitation....

In Spring, as blossoms began to appear on bushes and trees, both children and teachers would sometimes bring in a blooming branch or stem. We often placed these natural artifacts next to one of the easels (there are usually two double-sided easels in use) as an invitation. Some children painted representations of the blossoms, and others ignored them. But, one child came back over and over again throughout his play, to look closely and paint several times. Seeing this, we provided magnifying glasses, and he noticed tiny details. Other children noticed his ongoing work; they watched and often commented, supporting his enthusiasm.

As the days went by, and different blossoms appeared, the young painter added finer and finer details to his
work. At one point, the paintbrush that he was using did not give the desired effect; a teacher reminded him
that 'you can look around the studio - see what else might work,' and a whole new way of mark-making
was born. He used scrunched up foil, twigs, feathers - lots of experimentation here, which became
contagious as other children noticed....

A porfolio of images began to emerge as the child's confidence built, and studio materials began to be seen for all the possibilites that they might offer, a validation of our belief in the environment as the third teacher, and the possibilities of materials.

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In classrooms that use inquiry-based approaches - including those who use Emergent Curriculum, engage in long or short term project work, or are inspired by Reggio Emilia - we work hard to find the time to document children's ideas, thinking, and learning.

The chocolate project evolved from the children's disbelief about where chocolate comes from....
Fall 2017
NS College of ECE, Halifax, N.S.
November 18th 2017
Ottawa area (Kanata)
October 19th and 20th
Prince Edward Island
November 21
Online (closed group)
February 3rd 2018
Hamilton, Ontario