While reading Swimmy By Leo Lionni we were inspired to make our own lovely pictures. Line of symmetry is often seen in the story, so we picked three colors that reminded us of the ocean.
At first painting on the paper was very light, almost a hesitation as to where to put the paint, but as this child proceeded a lovely and creative picture emerged. I did role model this lesson instead of leaving it out as a provocation. Since line of symmetry is a new concept to young minds that have not experienced this before, it is perfectly fine to model.
I was truly amazed at how quickly my student took to this lesson. The steps I modeled were repeated almost exactly. Where it changed was even better! Once this child painted, folded, smoothed and opened the paper and expressed happy surprise, more paint was then added and the paper was refolded and smoothed and opened! This process was repeated about two more times after this. I love how young minds take what we offer and use their own cognitive abilities to extend the learning. This student understood the concept and broke down the barrier of only painting once and folding. Repeating the steps allowed a far more creative and complex piece of artwork to emerge. Three year old minds are very intelligent and capable of many things if only allowed and given time to explore their own ideas!
Later in the morning this same child decided to try the line of symmetry technique with ink instead of paint. The paper was already folded from the painting lesson, so the child immediately wrote on either side of the line down the center. When finished a line was traced following the fold in the paper. The paper was then folded shut, smoothed and reopened with a surprised exclamation from the child! Now this child already proved understanding by the painting down above, so transferring the same information newly learned to another content area is excellent! This child knew full well that the ink is not like paint and that is why both sides of the line were drawn on. One of the fascinating things for me to see was the reaction was complete role-play or acting! Pretending to be surprised at what was created was just precious!
Art and Literacy are individual content areas of study. These two contents are often paired together for learning, however the great part about this was that not only did an art form transfer to another content area so easily, but in a different part of the classroom. Our brains learn concepts in multiple ways and pathways are extended and formed when we move around the room and face different directions when learning new things. Even taking a new concept and trying it out at home, in the park anywhere else is a good sign learning for understanding is taking place. Needless to say I was very excited to witness this spontaneous display of understanding! I say spontaneous because we moved on to other things quickly after this. Did I mention three year old children have a ton of energy!! 🙂
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT
The Marigold School of Early Learning! 🙂