The children were exploring dry erase boards and markers to create self-portraits. They were working in tandem sitting across from each other at a table. The children were taking turns drawing each other’s faces, talking about the process, and enjoying the moment. Inspired by their initial investigation, the children switched tools to pencil and paper and re-created the same images so they would have a permanent recording of their work.
It was interesting to observe the children create the original images on dry erase boards and share the experience with another child. The children engaging in this work sat in a position so the child they were working with could watch them create their image in real time. The process invited immediate feedback and a social connection for the children involved.
One way children in school age care connect socially is by working together. Often one child begins work, another child notices the work, and then joins the process. Usually the children are of similar age, but not always. The work creates an opportunity to connect and learn more about each other. New friendships and social skills grow when the children forge creative collaborations.
Making connection and learning about each other are wonderful benefits of children choosing their own work. Child led collaborations create a deeper connection and understanding about one another. For children who never play together this creates a bridge to know someone better. Children in different peer groups who have similar interests can connect socially and make discoveries together.
Like much of the work the children choose, this was not the first time self-portrait was a topic of interest. The children were about to expand their drawing exploration by adding new subjects of interest.
Working together, the children challenge each other to try new techniques and push the limits of what they already know. Often this work is revisited for a number of days and weeks throughout the year.
The same process of drawing on whiteboards and creating with different mediums was repeated in a new exploration of drawing family members and pets. These are images young children connect with and represent another part of their social circle.
Each year children of different ages represent their social connections with drawings that have meaning not only in the moment but create a pathway to communicate with other children and form the social bonds that make a learning community.
How do young children in your program use drawing as a way to communicate with other children?