As the great Italian educator, Loris Malaguzzi expressed in a poem: “A child has a hundred languages but gets deprieved of 99!”
Children’s art is one of the unique primeval languages symbolizing thoughts and feelings and hereby reflecting the deeply original and universal inner nature of the children around us.
These reflections, we believe, can be found within the direct and friendly manner in which children approach and handle materials. And also as embedded in the child’s concrete visualizations of linear language into 3-dimensional forms is yet another one of these hundred languages.
In these there is something that has to do with origin, birth and budding life; a joy of living and vitality; the same kind of power that makes plants and animals grow and develop. Man’s search and research through cycles of civilizations will, hopefully, aid us through whatever future challenges we meet in our World.
“Children do offer us messages, if we are ready to perceive them as such…” Sonja (Böhlander) Tanrisever
“In own as well as in children’s art, my main goal has always been achieving outlet of pure dynamic expressions. The dynamic expressions of the child, also of the one in our inner selves, in the universe.” Sonja
The most important is not to make a beautiful picture. Essential is what happens during the process in itself while it is coming into being.
Sonja and Esin are a mother and daughter both being Swedish / Turkish artists and educators. Sonja has spent 58 years of her life together with children and their own kinds of art. Esin does also have same kind of experiences behind her since 20 years. They are still engaged in art education and researching innovative art pedagogical methods.
Besides practicing sortiments of known art teachings, they have together also developed some own techniques, partly including certain influences from Swedish Children’s Culture. These they have adapted to other social structures of own World as applied with children living under various sociocultureal conditions. They have worked with Street children as well as with highly privileged ones…
This booklet series of theirs, entitled: “Free Art Learning with Kids, is a project leading us into a journey towards children’s worlds of imagination. Emphasizing their needs of self expression and bringing about insights into how we, as adults, can best support.
WHO WE ARE & OUR AIMS
The under signed are a mother and daughter, both being Swedish – Turkish artists and having lots of experiences in the field of art education with children.
Sonja (or mother) has spent in all about 58 years of life on this and Esin (as daughter) has cooperated during last 20 years.
What is Our Point
Now we want to share our experiences with the world and have published an E-book (Amazon and iBooks [which is mainly distributed by Smashwords]) entitled “Free Art Learning With Kids” written by Sonja and Esin Tanrisever.
This book is an introduction to our understanding of art educational philosophy for young ones. In it, we have sporadically pondered upon some topics that we believe may concern adults who particularly are in relation to children at early stages between 2 till 7 years of age. (Views upon ourselves… Children… The World and the like.)
It is planned to get followed by a series of handbooks which will come to form a “library” containing instructive guidelines upon how we, as adults, can support our children by providing them means to expand their personal creative growths. You will find detailed descriptions on how various artistic media techniques can get successfully realized together with them.
Our planned “Free Art Learning With Kids Library” Project program introduces a rich variety of artistical techniques with instructions on how to apply them adapted to “young artists”.
What are our aims?
As known, in world market there is to be found a wealth of attractive looking publications on artistic activities for children. Many of these are doubtlessly quite beneficial and suitable, in serving as valuable sources of inspiration, they promote progressive developments of children’s minds.
On the other hand, marketed are also huge amounts of publications designed for use of stencils. This may be more or less qualified from aesthetical or pedagogical point of view. Children are expected to copy or fill in blanks of them with color…Often even with descriptions on which colors are going to be used so that something will “look right” for somebody.
Now, we know that children naturally need approval and love. Accordingly, in order to please their elders, they will try to suit expectations. But they also need believing own iner resources, insight into what they are capable of performing on their own. As long as they have chances to freely express themselves the ways they feel to be true coming from inside, they will feel successful and gain self confidence.
Art Learning As A New Kind of Concept
After having finished our first book, we experienced shortage in terms of choosing equivalent conceptual definition of the art pedagogical image in our minds. And none of the terms mainly used in the field did really seem to suite our aims. This confusion went on until a friend (being a noteworthy designer) Mr. Faruk Malhan kindly contributed with the bright idea of introducing the term of “Art Learning” instead of training, teaching, etc. Then we considered that this actually should be exactly what these kind of contexts are all about in early years. Children are new in the world and so they keep learning in multifolded manners by using all their senses. Learning life from all sources embodied within adventurous and enrichening domains of artistical forms of expression will act as one of the major resort spheres.
Accordingly with our own projects when children, through the magic power of art get a chance to freely discover and explore their creative iner resources by means of self expression, we believe in a broad sense, that making art has the potential of fostering growth of what is individual in each child (emotion, thought and understanding). At the same time, the natural process of psychic and physical maturing of the child will come to be integrated with the surrounding world, so that there will be harmony and balance in their interaction.
Consequently in our understanding: during early ages, art learning must be FREELY practised!.. Children’s creativity should definitely not be restricted.
Brief Outlines Of Our “Free Art Learning With Kids Handbook Library” Project
In order to realize this project, we have organized a work plan designed for preschool age groups of 2-3, 4-5 and 6-7 years of age. New concepts and skills of each grade level build upon and incorporate previous learned behaviors.
- This plan will offer the children opportunities to engage in elaborous studies of elementary art concepts and elements. Languages of f.i. line, texture, color, form, light will be explored through creative experimentations.
We seek to encourage children for gradually experiencing things that are new to them and they must be left to have an angle scope, feel free to examine and make tests… If they fail, then try again and again if necessary. They will have to interprete their experiences in manners which feel right to themselves, without having to worry about whether others will approve or not…
For this purpose, artistic means of expression, materials used during art sessions will be highly varying. This will give them opportunities to fully use their senses and experience thrills of perceptional sensations. If children live in a city, this is even more important. Nature should enter their lives.
Among materials there will be: sand, clay, plaster, dough, wood, fur, rope, strings, metal, glass, shells, beads, bark, twigs, feathers, cones, seeds, lead, charcoal, paints of many kinds. Experiencing explorations of diverse materials at early ages, will make the children familiar with basic concepts on nature of things.
- Planned program of “Free Art Learning With Kids Handbook Library” Project covers subjects like drawing, print making, painting, collage, picture making in mixed media, textiles, mozaic, marbling and 2 or 3 dimensional works like masks, reliefs, puppet making and sculpture.Besides this, art making by use of manipulations with recycled elements (in order to arise awareness about explotations of nature) and some basic science experiments are also integrated in the schedules.
For perceptions to deeply reach and settle in minds during processes of learning, children need to focus on languages which are real far beyond words. Naturally verbal languages are of undisputable importance as magical intermediaries of communication, but as we know, besides this there are also many other languages as well (which often may be neglected) “A child has a 100 languages but gets deprieved of 99” Loris Malaguzzi famous Italian poet and educator. Words can not, for instance, be touched upon or caressed in physical sense. They can not be experienced in the way hands, eyes and thought interact while registering properties in environment. They can not be real and warm in the way of learning by doing, learning by feeling, touching, seeing, smelling! When structures of matter get familiar, they turn into a formalistic base for making interpretations in personal and engaged manner.
In all, together with love, care and constructive dialogues between different generations, these are thought to be dynamics nurturing power of freedom in self expression during early childhood.
Sonja & Esin Tanrisever