Painting is one of the most popular learning experiences in preschool. Not only because it is a sensory experience, but it is color exploration, symbolic, can be inspiration for creative stories, and is open for endless creativity no matter what developmental level a child is at on the continuum. A stencil can come in handy not just for drawing/ tracing, but for painting too. Using recyclable materials is not only cost effective in a preschool program, but it teaches young children how we can use something that may often just be put in a recycle bin and hauled away when pick up day comes. Below I decided to see if this would be a good provocation and I was pleasantly surprised.
I gave the choice of nine different color options for painting and set this up to see if there was interest. Sometimes when something new or different is put out as a provocation children may not take to it right away, and sometimes they take to it immediately. I never know how a provocation will unfold, yet I never give up on trying to insight inquiry and creativity. At first this child was very careful and painted lightly and only on the the red lines of the stencil and not in the circles. I found this to be interesting. I have often observed children painting all over with no hesitation, so this was new to me. I decided after watching for a while to go ahead and role model painting within the circles. I only did this briefly and that was enough to encourage this child to give it a try too.
As a result the main colors were ones in association with the color of the stencil, which again shows the attention to detail this child has. And she was inspired by the red color of the stencil to stay within the warmer shades of paint colors. She went from red, orange, yellow, cream to white. Surprise was a happy reaction when the stencil was lifted off. After this child finished examining her paper she decided that one green dot was needed before she continued to add more and more color to her paper and totally transforming what it was to start with.
As a Teacher I would have liked the painting to have stayed the way it was above simply because I liked how the color progressed from dark to light in the warm side of the color spectrum. However, young children have their own interpretations of their artwork and their own plans. With painting the plans emerge as the child continues to explore this wonderful tactile sensation and color exploration. As more paint was added colors were mixed and discovered and finally the desire to touch the wet paint came into being. One finger first touched the paint and then a few more and scratching the paint came to this child’s mind. By scratching the paint colors that were first layd down now reappeared, yet that was not the focal point of this child’s observation. The look of the scratch marks was a reminder of how a cat’s claw scratches. So thoughts about cats came to her mind and we discussed cats and of course as many young children enjoy role playing as, she transformed herself into a kitty-cat for a little while. 🙂
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT
The Marigold School of Early Learning
Please share and comment if you’ve set up similar provocations for your preschool students. I would love to read all about them! 🙂