The arts in conversation “How can early childhood education imagine or re-imagine drawing as a powerful mode from which to explore and create meaning together”
The learning that has been most significant has been the unfolding certainty that drawing is a relational affordance that makes evident the multiplicity of children’s language. Acts of drawing and engaging with materials has shown us children’s capacities and complexities of their thinking. The social aspects of these engagements create a context for learning in community. We are not only making visible the ideas that matter but also through deeper reflection on the work of children we see the strategies and theories being revealed. Our images of children were expanded as we began to understand how social constructions become a living part of our community. Children’s theories gave us a window into children’s thinking, their capabilities and our own ability to relate and respond to children. The power of children’s words, movements, stories and images generated new perspectives of children’s unique ways of being. Images of children as citizens with rights became visible as our role became about seeing and hearing in new ways. Our understandings of the power of materials and the inventions that unfolded through our relationships with each other were further activated by the visual images that emerged. We were able to listen and become more fluent in ways to respond and communicate with children.
For our centre, we are sometimes challenged with bridging best practice with the theory divide while looking for ways to support children in exercising their power. Going forward, our practices will more seriously listen to drawing and the multiplicities of language, such as movement, forms of music and story, opening ourselves to be provoked by children’s desires to be heard and seen. Through the recognition and value that documentation gives to the voices of children, we endeavour to find ways to capture the ordinary moments through photography, video and scribing the words of children. Moving forward with the inspiration offered by this project it is my goal to model seeing the power, beauty and complexity of children rather than focusing on challenging behaviours as sometimes happens through a lens of scarcity over abundance. A practice that continually re-imagines our images of children, supports us in images that are powerful and complex rather than difficult and challenging.
The relationships that developed through this project have resulted in the opportunity to take on the role of director. Moving forward, in my new role as manager, I will continue to look to this learning journey to reaffirm the possibilities that our project has shown us.
Embedding the arts in all aspects of the program is an ideal that requires advocacy as previous theories of child art still lingers. Seeing children as powerful in our field, calls for powerful and ethical educators. This learning journey has contributed greatly to strengthening these pedagogical dispositions, and for this we are truly grateful.