Francis W. Parker School: Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten
February 14–May 31, 2015
Art opens the artist and the viewer to discovery.
At the Francis W. Parker School, we celebrate the dignity of each person. Our humanistic culture gives rise to diverse perspectives about the human experience. Through the creative actions students take as they explore themselves, the process of artistic expression frees them as people to connect to something important that is alive and stirring inside themselves. Thus, our students are able to explore life through the creative rendering of images, symbols, and meanings in artistic forms.
Loris Malaguzzi, founder of Reggio Emilia’s educational philosophy, famously wrote of the hundred languages of children, a phrase that refers to the virtually infinite ways children express, explore, and connect their thoughts, feelings, and imaginings. Howard Gardner, founding father of the Multiple Intelligences Theory, provides a useful framework for understanding the same concept: being smart encompasses music, movement, social skills, self-awareness, spatial reasoning, and artistic expression as well as logic, mathematics, and verbal and written language. Gardner’s and Malaguzzi’s expanded notions of intelligence empower children and adults whose strengths may sometimes go unrecognized, and remind teachers that a traditional curriculum often neglects the full range of significant human capacities.
At Parker, we know that the artistic process opens students up to uncovering essential truths within themselves and others. It allows them to create opportunities so that their ideas and emotions can be identified, appreciated, and understood through mediums and methods they choose for visual expression.
In Junior and Senior Kindergarten, we do our best to offer a rich variety of opportunities for representing ideas, and encourage students to engage with many different materials and experiences, or “languages.” We find that many children gravitate toward visual art as a medium to represent their thinking. As teachers, we focus our attention not only on their finished artwork, but also on their creative process and what it says about their learning. We refer to children’s use of graphic languages to make their learning experience visible. The graphic arts—broadly defined as any form of visual artistic expression— are our chosen media to share with others what children are thinking, doing, feeling, learning, and experiencing. When we introduce new techniques, we are offering children tools to express their ideas. When we study and reflect upon their work, we are “listening” to the children.
Johanna Davis Ross
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Francis W. Parker School
Image: Evan, Senior Kindergarten