February 19, 2014

Clown Face, Painted and Collaged: Art at the Daycare

Clown Face, Painted and Collaged

This week is Clown Week at Cornerstone Child Development Center where I teach art.  Clown books and circus music are everywhere around the Center.  

Monday was art day for the Explorers and Toddlers (ages 12-24 months), and the children made clown faces.  


Introducing the Lesson

Since we were creating a face, I thought it would be a good time to review the names and locations of our human facial features.  

I had already cut eyes, nose, and mouth shapes.  Before the children started to work, I held the eyes, nose, and mouth shapes up to my face and said the feature's name.  Then as I handed the shape to each child, I held it to his/her face and repeated the name.  

With that we were ready to begin.

Teaching the Lesson

  • The children's first job was to decorate the clown's face, hat, and bow tie with white tempera paint circles.  Did you notice they were printing with detergent lids?  The lids were perfect for little hands.

  • Next came the eyes. After I put glue on the back of the eyes, the children placed them on their papers.  I encouraged them to pat-pat-pat the eyes to ensure a good seal.  We wouldn't want any one-eyed clowns running around the classroom.  

  • The clown's nose was next.

  • And then came the mouth.

  • The children had fun making clown faces.  Some crowded eagerly around the art table, watching and waiting their turn.  Others kept coming back to the table after their turn was over. I'm glad they like art.

  • Here you see the clowns taped on the Toddlers' classroom wall.

Concepts Explored:

  • shape
  • color
  • vocabulary: facial features
  • spacial awareness: facial features
  • listening
  • following directions
  • small muscle coordination
  • taking turns
  • symbolism

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary for Children defines symbolism as the art or practice of using symbols.

When I held the eyes, nose, and mouth shapes up to the children's faces and said the name of each feature, I was helping them understand that, in this situation, cut paper shapes symbolize facial features.

Did they fully understand the concept?  Absolutely not.  Will they remember that paper shapes can stand for facial features? I'm sure they won't.

Then why bother to 'teach' symbolism?  Children must be able to symbolize in order to read.  First they learn that letters are symbols for sounds.  Then they learn that letters strung together are symbols for words, and so on until they are reading.  

Symbolism is not an easy concept to learn.  It's a concept that one must experience over and over again until a gradual understanding emerges.  Today's Clown Face was one such experience.   

Do you have a comment or a suggestion?  I'd love to hear from you.

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