The children were introduced to the idea of drawing with numbers. The concept was for children to explore the possibilities of numbers away from the traditional view as a mathematical component.
Introducing children to new ways of thinking and experimenting with known objects invites exploration of other known materials in the future. The children who see number in a different way may begin to look at other materials or ideas in an experimental or expanded view. By opening up the possibilities of number we open the possibilities of all things in the learning environment and expand the wonderings of the children.
This work was proposed by another educator and offered as a choice for the children to try. The project was not part of a bigger investigation but more of an opportunity for the children to explore number. Some children worked to create a defined picture, like a house or a mountain, using numbers as the medium and other children made an abstract design using numbers and color as the visual medium.
Often educators propose work they believe children will be interested in because it fits certain theme or goal for the educator, not the child. I believe educators in many instances feel pressure to come up with invitations that fill a certain educational component like math, science, literacy, etc. Another way educators can support educational goals is to follow the children’s interests and find learning opportunities within the scope of the children’s wonderings. Then the educator has an opportunity to join the children in a journey of learning where the concepts children desire to learn become the emphasis and all of the educational concepts parents hope their children experience are explored while investigating and creating work.
The children that were intrigued by the number process started their work slowly and experimented with the possibility of number then moved with more purpose and intention after thinking about how to use number in a new way.
Children are open to trying new ideas and projects no matter who introduces the work, but children are more intentional in their work when they initiate the work versus the work being directed by the educator. After the children have time to explore a creative process they become more comfortable stretching their work and challenging themselves creatively. The work then becomes an investigation of what the particular process offers and how far the work can be explored before a natural ending point presents itself.
The process with number was a short-lived investigation. The children who participated enjoyed the process, but the children treated it as a one time creative endeavor like painting a picture. This work may return in some other form or investigation at a later time. On to future work and the possibilities that lie before us.