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Adult Directed Art Activities


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I would really welcome a straw poll on this.

 

A staff member is very keen to do a couple of specific art activities (i.e. make a card exactly like this) for mother's day. This is harking back to the old days at our setting where we had a great deal of 'fluffy duck syndrome', i.e. adults telling children how to 'do' an art activity, and children all making the same. Ironically I had been helping set up a new 'art zone' with tons of different resources on offer, so that the children could initiate their own art.

 

I spoke to our leader this morning and suggested she might have to put her foot down and say that this kind of thing isn't really appropriate. But I'm wondering whether there is still a place for this, e.g. practising certain skills and following a template that an adult has made? The staff member involved has come a long long way over the last couple of years, so I don't want her upset and thinking that we are being negative about her ideas.

 

Any thoughts?

 

I'm not totally against adult directed, it just seems that these only ever happen in art and never in PSRN or CLL or other areas.

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I guess it would depend upon how directed and what choice the children have. If its going to be a case of her providing precut items, in limited colours of her choice, and directing the children to stick on items in a very precise way I would say absolutely not. But if she has a variety of precut items in different colours and the option for children to make and cut out their own, plus if they are free to arrange the items as they like on the card then maybe its not so bad.

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Guest terrydoo73

I will be watching this with interest.

 

We had a similar problem in that our Early Years Advisor told us in no uncertain terms to use "templates", it had to be all the child's choice and method of doing a thing.

 

We have seen the merit in using cards last week for instance it was St Patrick's Day - we gave them all loads of stickers, stamps, cut outs etc and each card was entirely different - even the signage of Happy St Patrick's Day!! We are working with 3 year olds in a Playgroup setting and our art area is rarely used by the children so have done a few "template" type activities to get the interest going and have definately seen more usage. The reasoning behind this was that none of our children would ever say "I want to make a flower today" they just wouldn't have a clue but it is all still available during free play and we have found them returning to little stickers to be attached to sheets as well as dried peas, flower cut outs etc. At least it is progress but surely for Mother's Day you want something that is a wee bit presentable surely? What alternative were you thinking of doing or do you just not celebrate Mother's Day. Surely this comes under the heading of knowledge and understanding of the world around us too and leads to wonderful discussion about what mothers do etc etc. You are covering so many areas of learning in this one particular activity and I think it is better to address it rather than ignore the whole occasion?

 

It will be interesting to see what others think and do for such an occasion.

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I have in the past sat by the art table/easel while the children have been working. If, say we were thinking along the lines of a gift for Mother's Day, I may suggest that if they wanted to paint a picture of mummy what would they begin with - possibly, just possibly they may offer up a circle shape for her body/head etc. and we work from there......

 

This year we have given the children very open-ended resources at a table and some plain coloured card in a range of colours and sizes, no glue or other fixings and just allowed them to create using the resources available - a collage of items. We have taken a photograph of their efforts and this will be stuck to the front of a card for mummy at first they were a little flumoxed that we had not given them any glue, but wow did they create, some stunning artwork going home.

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The card is a daffodil, done in 3d, from what I could gather the idea was to specifically direct them to produce a copy of what she had done.

 

Yes, we do celebrate mother's day - definitely!

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If you wanted to support her in this idea, I might suggest that she has a vase of daffodils in the art area, as well as some that can be de-constructed by the children, allow them to use all of their senses to discover the flower and give them the spring bulb, flower talk!

 

I would have a range of art resources out in yellow and green and allow the children to create their own version of what a daffodil looks like from those resources onto a card for mum, I would not have a this is one I made earlier.

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we used to do the same as Panders. when we felt the need or to inspire the children use real flowers and lots of resources to make the picture or card.. but we never sat and said it goes here etc... and if they ended up looking nothing like the flower that was fine.. it was how the child perceived it and saw it..

 

we did occasionally have something made on the table for those who needed a bit of inspiration, some of the children liked to see how we interpreted it as well so I was often sat making my card or other staff were- at same time, asking for child input into our creations from those who seemed a bit reluctant or unsure.

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My son is 18 now and when he was very little he loved to do paint by numbers and then make increasingly more complicated airfix type models by following instructions.

 

Following a pattern is a skill and one that adults often need eg to follow a cookery recipes, a sewing or knitting pattern, or trying to put together flatpack furniture!

 

I really think there is room for a balance of both types of creative expression within a childcare setting as long as all practitioners are fully aware of all viewpoints and the reasons behind them.

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sorry but it would have no place in my setting. Ask your staff to draw a tree, they would all be different but all equally valid. I feel you are saying if it is not like this then it is not right, not correct and not valid.

 

Why i ask can children not allowed to be creative in their own right

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At least it is progress but surely for Mother's Day you want something that is a wee bit presentable surely? What alternative were you thinking of doing or do you just not celebrate Mother's Day. Surely this comes under the heading of knowledge and understanding of the world around us too and leads to wonderful discussion about what mothers do etc etc. You are covering so many areas of learning in this one particular activity and I think it is better to address it rather than ignore the whole occasion?

 

But every child is unique, as is their Mum, and surely their efforts will be valued because of that? (whether presentable, in our opinion, or not)

 

I let my little ones loose with the "making box".... some Mum's get a card, others a picture or a handful of the shiny bits from the bottom of the box BUT each knows that their child chose it especially for them.

 

Nona

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suzie i really think this is about what you are trying to achieve by doing this activity.... if you are seeing it as a creative process then this is (IMO) not the way to go. It expressess nothing about the childs creative bent and is an 'easy'option for the teacher showing their lack of imagination. if however you are using this as a means to see if a child can follow instructions/understand prepositions/directional language/size/colour/use of tools then this may be a way to do it. So i guess it is just the way you are planning for it and the approach you use....you could also use it as an evaluation tool for the member of staff to see what her thought processess are about it afterwards...if she thinks it is creative then maybe some more training is needed! :o

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Just to clarify I'm not in any way endorsing this activity (learning is not my department, I get to do the unsexy stuff such as cash flow and being suitable person and all that boring chair person stuff). But my staff member who wants to do it has made huge strides and we don't want to crush her completely when she comes forward with an idea.

 

Anyway I did as Panders suggested, I cut a bunch of daffs from my garden and took them in this morning and suggested she might get the children to look closely at the flowers and then respond in their own way.

 

However, I can see Gemini's point about learning to follow instructions, which I should imagine is somewhere in the EYFS? Last night my daughter made fairy cakes, she had to follow the instructions or they wouldn't have worked, but she got to be creative in the icing and decorating department!

 

To give another example ... this week the children have been making Holi pictures - it's quite adult directed, they had to lie down and cut round their body shapes, they then got to splash paint on them (in the real festival you splash paint on yourself!) Is this too adult directed as well? The children would never have thought to do it on their own. Or is it okay when we are celebrating diversity but not when practising art techniques? I'm all covered in confusion ...

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However, I can see Gemini's point about learning to follow instructions, which I should imagine is somewhere in the EYFS?

 

 

if there is I could never find it.... we always had an issue where to put something when completed by following instructions.. we usually ended up putting it with an area the activity related to..

 

was one of our issues that we looked for ages and none of us could find anything specific to following instructions..

 

if it was it was written in such a way to hide it from us...

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Not quite 'learn to follow instructions' but ...

 

PD: 'Manipulate materials to achieve a planned effect.'

PD: 'Use simple tools to effect changes to the materials.'

 

This seems to be more about design and technology than art, so there surely is a place for learning how to cut and create 3 dimensional shapes and to use tools as scissors carefully?

 

It doesn't specifically say that it has to be the child who 'plans' the effect - in subjects such as DT there are lots of tool handling skills to be learned to create certain effects, which children might not happen upon spontaneously.

 

Same with cookery, which our children are doing this morning. Is it only specifically art activities, then, where creative freedom is the be all and end all?

 

An interesting debate ...

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Creativity covers many areas though doesnt it?

I cant draw or paint very well if at all, but I can think creatively. If I'm at playgroup and theres a lull in the session I can quickly think of a game or activity to fill the gap and I can embellish existing activities.

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if there is I could never find it.... we always had an issue where to put something when completed by following instructions.. we usually ended up putting it with an area the activity related to..

 

was one of our issues that we looked for ages and none of us could find anything specific to following instructions..

 

if it was it was written in such a way to hide it from us...

"respond to simple instructions" is in cll ...communication 30-50 months of course loads of different ways of doing this!

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Who is the professional you or the parents?

 

I explain to my parents why our children produce what they do and why we do not do pre-cut make it like this stuff

 

they fully appreciate their childrens creativity just as we do

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