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Early childhood education has been my life for over 30 years. I have taught all age groups from infants to 5-year-olds. I was a director for five years in the 1980s, but I returned to the classroom 22 years ago. My passion is watching the ways children explore and discover their world. In the classroom, everything starts with the reciprocal relationships between adults and children and between the children themselves. With that in mind, I plan and set up activities. But that is just the beginning. What actually happens is a flow that includes my efforts to invite, respond and support children's interface with those activities and with others in the room. Oh yeh, and along the way, the children change the activities to suit their own inventiveness and creativity. Now the processes become reciprocal with the children doing the inviting, responding and supporting. Young children are the best learners and teachers. I am truly fortunate to be a part of their journey.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

PAINTING SNOW - 2014

Last year I wrote a post about Painting Snow  If you look at that post, you will see that the only apparatus was a wooden tray for the children to use as a platform above the table.  This year, the tray is still there and I left the incline tube and slide from the previous week's Snow Park.



Snow is a wonderful medium on which to paint.  It is such an intense white, that even the watered-down tempera paints show up nicely.

Look at this series of pictures showing a child painting with the magenta paint.  Notice how the color expands.



How much of this painting is a conscious effort to explore color and how much is it an act of affecting his environment---the snow---to change it?  In any case, it looks like he is about to add some red to the magenta.

The reason for long handle paint brushes to slow down the process of adding color to the snow.  If the children were simply to pour the paint on the snow, the activity would be done in no time.  With the brushes, the children apply smaller amounts of paint.  Watch how this works.  The child has lined up his paint pots so he can add the paints with the brushes to the bowl of snow.

Mixing snow and paint from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

What does he get?  He gets some vibrant snow, for sure.  Is it a color investigation or is it a mixing exploration?

At some point, though, the addition of paint to snow becomes just a mixing exercise.  Watch the short video below to see the child stirring snow, melted snow and all the colors together.

Mixing melted snow and paint from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.

What does he get?  A cold brown concoction.

With a set up like this, there are other things to paint besides the snow.  There is the incline apparatus.

There is the table itself.

Or maybe even yourself.

I am still left with questions.  Does painting snow give children a sense of agency to affect a change in the snow?  Is painting snow a color investigation or a mixing exploration?  Does it switch between the two?  If so, what precludes the switch?  How much do the properties of the snow define either that investigation or that exploration?  Do the children have a better understanding of the properties of the snow by painting it?  Why do children paint other things in addition to the snow?














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