During a typical day in the toddler two room, the classroom is bustling with children moving from station to station, exploring, creating, and discovering.
Sitting quietly at one of the drawing stations were two students. They were working so quietly and with such intention they immediately caught our attention.
“J” showed how his green oil pastel made the softest and smallest line on his large, blank paper. He made another soft line in the center of his paper and pointed to it quietly with a small smirk on his face.
He proceeded to draw with more courage and his lines became stronger and darker. He drew long, hard lines across his page and he experimented with changing line direction and creating circular shapes in the center of his page. Each mark would start off strong and it would gracefully trail off to the softest line. Almost as if he was demonstrating how much control he had over his marks. He was so proud of his work! Every now and then he would point to a mark that he made and make sure that we were watching his amazing creation unfold.
After he had been drawing for some time, he took a minute to observe what he had created. He knew something was missing when he intricately started drawing in each available corner of the paper. He is demonstrating his awareness of space and showing a desired composition.
Look at “J” showing his first mark in a corner!
His first attempt to mark on a corner of the paper that was hanging off the table!
His second attempt to draw on the same corner after he decided to move the paper on the table!
“E” sat down to draw with much more initial confidence. She immediately started drawing circle scribbles on her paper and quietly we could hear her saying “circle… circle” every time her hand would make the loop around the paper. She was so intent on her marks and the vision for her work that she almost folded her paper over with her exaggerated movements.
She began to experiment with her lines as she changed directions and strong, dark, straight lines began taking over the paper.
Then, with no hesitation at all she stated drawing in each corner just like “J.”
Such determination to get those corners!
Once she finished drawing on the last corner of the paper, she decided to draw on another child’s paper!
Everyday is an opportunity to experiment!
Oops! She got some on her hand!
She eventually noticed the easel sitting beside her and could not resist adding marks to the blank paper that was hanging on it!
Creating two pieces at once!
Throughout this observation, children came and went throughout the day. They would each create a piece as unique as themselves and gain different knowledge through them.
It is a beautiful moment when you see a young child understand that the marks he makes are no longer disordered and uncontrolled markings, but that he has gained control over his motor activity and there is intent behind his work. It is our job as educators in our school to help encourage this work and see that their scribbles become more complex. From these basic markings, children will begin to link what they know, create new shapes, new designs and will proceed through the following stages prior to creating representational art and prior to writing.
These children are telling us so much through their work, it is our job as educators to listen.