Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Encouraging Excellence

How do we encourage young children to strive for excellence in their day to day activities? How do we nurture a sense of ownership and pride in one's accomplishments? How do educators in a play-based program scaffold child-centered experiences so that they become layered and evolved over time?             

Today we challenged our children to do just this. We placed an inviting Magnolia blossom at one of our tables and invited the children to explore it - the beauty of its unfurling petals, the heavy perfumed air in the vase, the purity of its colour - and asked them to consider how they might represent all of these qualities in a black and white sketch.

Many children were up for the challenge and spent a lot of time at the centre, first observing the flower...

and then slowly sketching both what they saw and what they interpreted.

We once asked the children how they might go about discovering information for a question and one of their responses was to ask an expert. We are fortunate to have Miss Shi with us, and she is an amazingly talented artist. She spent time drawing alongside the children - discussing her artistic process and encouraging the children in theirs. We think it is important for children to watch a skilled person excel in their chosen task. It demonstrates what hard work and practice accomplish and gives them something to strive towards.

After much time observing and drawing, the children had some beautiful sketches.

We strive to encourage excellence in our children and program and asked those children who participated in the activity if they would consider trying a second sketch. We want them to want better for themselves. We suggested they use what they liked about their initial drawing as inspiration and add in the constructive feedback that others gave them in order to create an even better representation of the magnolia. During our end of the day circle the children came together as a class and spent time looking at the flower again. We passed the vase from child to child and each was encouraged to smell the flower and think about the beauty of the unfurling petals. We challenged the children to reflect upon their work that day and consider visiting the centre again tomorrow. For some, it would be their third attempt at a magnolia sketch. For others, it might be their first.  We can't wait to see what they accomplish!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...