I love four year olds! They are in a transition stage of development, at the cusp of separating reality from fantasy. You can see the wheels turning in some of their amazing brains, shifting gears from, "Is this real?" to "Of course it's not real". I can see it when I bring out my puppet, Melvin the Monkey (named after my beloved first voice teacher, Mel Hakola). "He's not talking, YOU are!", they say, at the same time speaking with Melvin directly. "Melvin, do you want a banana?"
We read When Pigasso Met Mootisse, and I carefully explained that there were real artists named Picasso and Matisse, showing them pictures of the artists and their art. But throughout the subsequent activities related to the story, each time I said the artists' names, they corrected me. One little boy, a concerned look on his face, said, "Gail, you mean Pigasso, right?". I admit I caved. That "G" started creeping into my pronunciation.
Here is how we did our Pigasso, er, Picasso art project, and the objectives you as an early childhood educator can reference if you do it with children.
We gathered at morning meeting and listed our choices for activity time, as usual. On the art table Sue had prepared a long mirror down one side of the table so that the children could draw a LARGE circle, eyes, nose and mouth, looking at themselves while they drew, sitting three at a time.. Children, speaking their thoughts aloud, said, "My face is a circle", or "Mine's an oval". Some, remembering the cubism we discussed prior to the activity, said, "I'll make my eyes triangles like a pumpkin".
The next step was to cut their picture into five largish pieces (these instructions were to prevent the inevitable cutting into shards and iddy-biddy pieces that often happens when we say, "cut"). Sue had demonstrated in morning meeting that pieces of a drawing could be reformed into a "new face", just as Picasso, I mean Pigasso had done.
We saved the pieces for each child by putting them together with a paper clip with their name attached. The next day they pieced their "new faces" together on a sheet of construction paper of their choosing. After gluing them down, they used my favorite colors, Creamy Crayons, to give vibrant colors to the new faces. As these are children of varying age within the "fours" bracket, not to mention varying individual interests and passions, the result was a broad range of "new faces" to put up in our stair well.
On the subject of directions, which I raised in my last post, we only provided those I have already mentioned except for encouraging children to color pieces so that the idea of a face be preserved. They were left to interpret that direction as they wished. Our direct instruction was not to tight, not to loose. Hopefully, it was just right!
Virginia Visual Arts Foundation Block 1: Visual Communication and Production, all four objectives.
Virginia Visual Arts Foundation Block 2: Art History and Cultural Context, objectives b and c.