Sunday, 29 March 2009

A Chicken Goes into a Library...

But first... some crayons. 

I'd put the crayons away as Isaac seemed to be more interested in eating them than drawing with them but I've been reading the Susan Striker book, Young at Art (of which more in a minute) and see that the eating stage is part of normal development and exploration so I thought I'd get them out again. 

It was a great success and Isaac didn't eat any of them. He drew for 20 minutes or more and then only stopped as he got distracted by me making coffee.

Crayon is hard to pick up as it's less defined than pen so I couldn't get a good shot of the end result but this gives you an idea. 

There are many things in Young at Art that I agree with and I wish I'd read it 6 months ago. I do think she's pretty rigid in her ideas though and there's an awful lot of 'thou shalt not' (often the same things repeated) that she claims will quash all creativity if you foist them on your child. The general premise though is that children should be allowed to explore art at their own pace without being expected to produce recognizable shapes before they're developmentally ready for it. She's a great fan of scribbling. She is vehemently opposed to themed production lines at daycare and toddler groups where holiday art is produced and the child's own production is cut or drawn on to produce turkeys, daffodils etc. It's something I've been opposed to without really knowing why so it's good to read her thoughts on it and to feel empowered not to follow what everyone else does. 

Another things Striker is keen on is valuing children's art by keeping it and displaying it - she says sticking it on the refrigerator isn't enough. We're not quite at the framing stage but I have started a display and found a box in which to put the loose pieces we have so far (we also have a book which Isaac draws in which is something we'll develop as time goes on). 

I have plans to put into effect more ideas from the book in the next few months.

And now for that chicken...
Have you heard the joke: 
A chicken walks into the library. It goes up to the circulation desk and says: "book, bok, bok, boook". The librarian hands the chicken a book. It tucks it under his wing and runs out. A while later, the chicken runs back in, throws the first book into the return bin and goes back to the librarian saying: "book, bok, bok, bok, boook". Again the librarian gives it a book, and the chicken runs out. The librarian shakes her head. Within a few minutes, the chicken is back, returns the book and starts all over again: "boook, book, bok bok boook". The librarian gives him yet a third book, but this time as the chicken is running out the door, she follows it. The chicken runs down the street, through the park and down to the riverbank. There, sitting on a lily pad is a big, green frog. The chicken holds up the book and shows it to the frog, saying: "Book, bok, bok, boook". The frog blinks, and croaks: "read-it, read-it, read-it".

Well all today all I've heard is 'book, 'buk, boook' and I've spent an awful lot of time in 'the chair' reading to Isaac. And when I wasn't reading to him he was reading to himself... 

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