Sunday, October 28, 2012


(represent – to present again or anew)

This type of drawing, different from story drawing, or drawing from memory or imagination, requires close observation.  We encourage the children to look closely, noticing as many details as possible.  
Giving your full attention to something seems simple, but it requires self control, and is a skill that is useful not only in visual and scientific inquiry, but in many aspects of life, even in conversation.  In our multi-tasking world, how often do we give our full attention to something or someone?    The practice of paying slow, careful attention, whether in visual observation or in conversation, allows us to be fully in the present moment. It is a rewarding and calming experience.

Observational drawing is a practice that we usually employ every year, in all the classrooms. We invite children to slow down and look carefully at an object. It takes practice (even for adults) to draw what you really see, instead of what you know about a thing. Which features are visible from a particular angle and which aren’t?  We encourage the children to notice details, to look closely at parts, to notice what shapes an object may be made up of, what size one part is compared to another, and to notice where elements are in relation to each other. Early on, a child's drawing may contain many disconnected parts, but as they develop, they begin to position the parts on the page relative to each other; both scale and position become meaningful.

The technique of breaking a complicated object into smaller, more manageable parts is another skill with life-long implications not only in representation, but in performing difficult or long-term tasks as well.

Drawing can be many things; a language through which children represent their ideas and understandings, a way of connecting with others, a method for settling into the room, and a vehicle for processing new information.  For the teachers and parents, it is also a window through which we can better come to know our children.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Forest Room: Around the table


In our classroom we have written a question and posted it on the wall:  "How do we support relationships?"    Since the question is staring at us every day, it is easy to mull it over as we work with the children.


One thing we have noticed is that this group enjoys working together, particularly around our art/snack table.  We cover the table with paper and the children work with oil pastels, tape and paint. They relish time making salt dough or playing with modeling clay. There seems to be very little ownership over particular parts of paper used for group work.  Children usually share modeling clay with ease. This is not always the case in other areas of the classroom. I wonder why that is?

We hang  the paper creations up in the classroom and delight in the way the children have collaborated.

This is a community table, used for many purposes.  Is the common element of a shared table an avenue for relationship building?
Preparing the table for snack


T is a little uncomfortable being in the studio.  It’s his first year at Sabot and many of the other children who are familiar with the routine jump right in, eager to begin.


He sits by a teacher and reluctantly begins to draw a space ship.  Then he does what  a grown-up might consider scribbling, all over his drawing.  Really though, a story is unfolding -  the ship is exploding.
Anna, our atelierista, is quite familiar with story drawing and, hearing the explosions, immediately jumps right in.  She adds a drawing of a small figure, a bad guy, right on his paper.  The paper, alive with the story in this moment,  isn’t precious, the important part is the action.

They share the dramatic story with the other children in the room.
T, feeling now more comfortable, and successful, begins again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's Happening in the Studio

                                                              Garden room in the studio