Self-portraits and sparkling feet: Communication & representation in the early years

It seems my (yiola’s) blog posts run parallel to the foci in my life. This makes good sense as it seems the blog genre, whether an MAB or personal, pulls from the writer their interests, latest happenings and experiences. This past month I have had the privilege of  spending a great deal of time with my two young children; hence the sharing of teaching and learning and literacy in the early years in many of my posts.

My four year old has been busy communicating, sharing and representing. Through her drawings she expresses her feelings and is able to share stories and ideas.

In March she drew and spoke about our family:


Her most recent self portrait:


Note the addition of the ears and arms that are now present in every drawing she creates.

For me, these developments are huge; for ECE researchers and educators these drawings are nothing new:

And yet, I still marvel at my child’s ability to communicate and represent in such meaningful ways.  My daughter expressed the other day  “momma, my feet are sparkling”… I did not bother to explain that wasn’t the case, that instead, her “feet fell asleep” because really, is one expression more accurate than the other?

An interesting and short description of stages of art development:

What caught my attention from the article was the statement below:

Of course, what children seem to do naturally and what they are capable of doing are entirely different matters. It is likely that teachers will find that students within their classrooms are at varied points in their graphic development since some have had abundant prior experiences with art, whereas others, may have had limited creative opportunities. Thus, teachers should avoid the temptation to place children at a particular stage simply because of their age or grade level.

… and how true this is of exposure to all subject/school related matter.

As I read about child development and literacy I appreciate  the stages of development. As a teacher (and now parent) I have seen the stages unfold; however, as I read and observe the effects of providing opportunities for creative development and the use of multi literacies with young children I am more excited about the possibilities for language and literacy development  in areas such as: creative thinking, communication, problem solving and representation.

In keeping with ‘you teach who you are’, I cannot help but think about these areas of interest for my work.  As I prepare my courses for the coming year I am searching for readings and experiences for student teachers that will encourage discussion about creative thinking/problem solving and the implementation of various kinds of opportunities for pupil’s acquiring literacy both in and out of classrooms.


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