Printer Friendly

Transforming kindergarten concepts.

By the time four- and five-year-olds enter kindergarten, some are solid and firm in their comprehension of such concepts as shapes and letters while others struggle with these ideas. Creating art projects that stimulate and challenge the former group without leaving the latter at a loss is not a simple task!

While all the students seemed to have mastered the task of identifying triangles of varying sizes and shapes when presented on flash cards, they were then asked to study and diagnose more subtle shapes found within reproductions of several artists' works. This exercise required that they learn to really look. It was exciting to introduce the techniques of overlapping and altering "perfect" triangles when the youngsters discovered pieces of triangles in colorful paintings and drawings by Klee, Monet and Kandinsky.

Through slides and demonstration, the students were shown that when certain shapes are combined, (in this case, triangles) with colors and individual imagination, many new visions and inspirations open in the realm of art.

The kindergartners were given 12 x 14" (30 x 36 cm) white drawing paper and asked to produce triangles of varying sizes at different places on the page. The resulting mountainous sequences could then be embellished with colored chalk a bright medium with a wealth of possibilities for this age group.

The concept of realism versus abstraction was introduced and it was explained that a pink mountain was just as "real" to an artist or a viewer of art, as a natural, grass-covered green mountain or a realistic, snow-capped one. Students were encouraged to pursue what most appealed to their own senses, choosing colors to blend and apply beside one another. It was stressed that fine art is a thoughtful process rather than a random, hurried one.

When the triangular mountains were cloaked in chalk, the kinder-gartners were shown how to smudge and blend the colors by wrapping a soft tissue around their index fingers and manipulating it within the triangular outline to rub the colors smoothly, filling the white page. The students delighted in this procedure and all were pleasantly surprised with the creative results. Following the completion of chalk ridges born of triangles, the artwork could be sprayed with a protective, clear glaze to prevent further smudging.

For application in teaching older children, or in combination with a social studies or science unit, the triangular chalk mountain lesson may be taken one step further. The young artists may be encouraged to discuss other aspects of mountainous ranges and to explore life in such regions, some adding skiers on slopes or log cabins. This can be achieved with fine-line markers or ink. My students creatively included narrow, winding mountain passes and bridges that spanned the peaks. We talked about vegetation and animals that could survive life in the mountains, including elk, deer and bears. Others created farms at the base of their triangles, including fences to retain cows and sheep and dogs to tend the flocks.

Whether or not you stretch the project to these limits, there is a great appeal and benefit in its simplest state. Having begun with the seemingly elementary concept of a triangle, learning the application of chalk and color, and being encouraged to activate their imaginations, the four- and five-year-olds created some visually effective and captivating works of art.

Darcy Mason Swope teaches art at the Potomac School, McLean, Virginia.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Davis Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Swope, Darcy Mason
Publication:School Arts
Date:Oct 1, 1992
Previous Article:Bridge to art: spanning the Straits of Mackinac.
Next Article:Robert Smithson's Spiral Jette.

Related Articles
Kindergarten art practices: important beginnings.
Art history in the kindergarten classroom: five- and six-year-olds study the masters at Laytonsville Elementary.
Early childhood education in three Eastern Europe countries.
All-Day Kindergarten.
The Child-Centered Kindergarten(**).
Longitudinal effects of kindergarten.
An American's journey to kindergarten's birthplace.
Preschool to kindergarten transition activities: involvement and satisfaction of families and teachers.
Is my child really too young for Kindergarten?
Rediscovering Froebel: a Call to Re-examine His Life and Gifts.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters