The Self Portrait Project is something we embarked on with our Pre-Kindergarten class in 2018. At Choklits, some of our curricula is derived directly from the children’s interests, here’s how the project went…
When noticing the children’s interests in drawing it became apparent there was passion and a desire to express themselves, their identity, and to make sense of the world they live in. To acknowledge their ever-growing desire to draw people I posed the provocation-
What is a self-portrait?
Where should we begin?
We started by reflecting upon images that we already had of the children in the classroom, discovering who is who, and who is here today?
“That’s my friend James, he’s not here today, he comes on Mondays”
“That’s me, I’m going like this”
The children were intrigued by the images of themselves and others, we reflected upon this and decided to invite them to a drawing provocations station. The children were encouraged to either draw themselves or another person in the class. As we progressed we listened to the children’s questions which included-
“How can I draw the eyes?”
“How should I draw the hair? Curly or long like mine?
This prompted us to research further as to what the children were wanting to know and through this process, we asked the children to be skilful researchers alongside us. How do we learn new skills? How does an artist learn to draw? The Teacher reflected upon one of the children’s learnings-
“She’s continuously looking for ways to either learn a new skill or practice one she’s already acquired.”
Challenging the children in the drawing endeavour became part of our curriculum. How can we support the children learn new skills without taking away the freedom of art? How can we celebrate all stages of drawing? How can we support children through the drawing process? We were inspired by the quote from Vincent van Gogh-
“I am always doing what I can not do yet, in order to learn how to do it.”
As the project grew so did the children, they not only acquired a new set of skills, but they learned to love learning. They have shown confidence in developing dispositions for lifelong learning. They are curious, persistent, patient, imaginative and creative. The artists have flourished this year in the Kinder Room and I am left with the impression this passion will be a lifelong journey where they continuously inspire others.
“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” – Salvador Dali
As Choklits educators, we have reflected and learned a lot through this experience. We will look to continue this project with our new pre-kindergarten class of 2019. The pre-kindergarten class have now graduated to our 4-year-old kindergarten class and will continue to grow and develop their self identities with our Kindergarten teachers.