Scrolling around the world of early childhood education online, I noticed that many children are creating self-portraits to begin the new school year. The children are using paint, mirrors, markers, clay, and loose parts to create a representation of self. Traditionally, this type of creation is used to identify the members of the current class, begin community building, and decorate spaces in the school.
The artwork created is often accompanied by a small biography about the child, so classmates and other families get to know each other. This type of work is also a deeper examination of self. Creating a self-portrait invites the children to see a reflection of who they are at a given age.
This gave me an idea. The start of the school year is a good time for us, as educators, to create a self-portrait. Instead of re-creating our faces, we could use this time of new beginnings to look deeper into self and examine our journey in the learning community and imagine where we want to travel this coming school year.
The method of our examination would reflect they way we like to express ourselves. Our examination could be the start of a regular practice of self-reflection. Like the children who are looking deeper into growing up through creating, we could look deeper into our practice and be creative in the process. What will we discover? Can we embrace what we see in our own reflection?
This type of work can often be uncomfortable when we are honest about who we are, where we are at, and where we want to go. We all have dreams and desires for how our work and life will proceed in the coming year. A little self-examination could be the catalyst for a great school year filled with possibilities.