“You can’t see close to the ground cause you’re a grown up and we’re kids.” Jack
Our trip to Austin’s home was filled with mystery and linked our study of gardens to our collections and has led into a bit of archeology. We took a secret passage way on O Street that led us up and down narrow stairways then directly into Austin’s backyard. The backyard is filled with buried treasure. Ava showed us some pottery shards the Edmondson’s found in the backyard so we began to search for treasure of our own.
Louise: Be careful those are glass. Will: No, they are teeth. Louise: They are shark teeth!
The conversations they had in the garden tied together events from the week and the first week of school. Louise and Will tried to decide what the artifact was made of; the white opaque milk glass resembled a jawbone, which led Will to believe they were teeth. Louise perhaps remembered Will’s collection of shark teeth from the first day of school. Margaret and Elle also tried to settle on a name for their discoveries. Many children have brought in crystals as parts of their collection, and we have been observing them under the microscope. This week, Elle and Margaret were on the first birthday committee and the children decided our gift will be wishing rocks. The children are attempting to identify these objects. It is interesting they have not asked adults and seem to come to agreements amongst themselves because reliable sources of information. We are thrilled they are not seeking grown ups for all of their answers and seeking their own answers. Next week we plan to focus on sorting and providing resources to identify and document the artifacts.
Margaret: Wow! Shiny rocks! Elle: Yeah, we found crystals! Margaret: Look, we found wishing rocks!
We saw the children’s drawing explode over the course of the week. Representational drawing can be difficult and frustrating—not just for young children, but for all of us. It takes focus and resilience to keep at it, and courage to share one’s work with the world. Last week, we used small group discussions to revisit our first fieldtrip to research gardens. What emerged in those groups was a great deal of interest in animals found in the garden, including both real animals and animal statues. This week, we offered a provocation in our drawing and drafting area which invited the children to create observational drawings of animals based on photographs and book illustrations. Children carefully observed lines and shapes, and patiently attempted to capture them in their drawings of rabbits, squirrels, and foxes.
When we took our trip to Nonno’s garden Wednesday, the children were eager to translate their observations into representational drawings. Offered the choice between documenting their experience with a camera or with pencil and pen, many of the children opted to draw instead of photograph their surroundings. Through these drawings, we see not only their growing competence and comfort, but also what they find interesting and beautiful. Their subjects included the path from St. John’s to Nonno’s garden, statues of people and animals, and insects they found in the garden. We saw similar observation and drawing during our trip to Austin’s garden later in the week. And in-between, children continued to work at drawing accurate portrayals of their favorite animals their favorite people, or both.
During today's indoor garden projection, we saw that inserting animals into the landscape inspired a lot of enthusiasm in the children. The work really took an interesting turn, however, when children began to draw and trace pictures of animals in our reference book and insert their drawings into the virtual garden. It was wonderful to see how invested they were in the process of drawing, and how joyful they were upon seeing the result.