Go Fish

This is why you should not tamper with children’s artistic development.

Monie asked me if I could help to make some fish that have a metal clip attached so the kids can fish for them off a box parading as a waka using a pretend fishing rod and a magnet.

Definitely, I announced and then pondered for a bit just how they should look. I started to cut some out of felt, but less than inspired I bought some rectangle paper out I had a pile of and asked the kids to please draw me fish. In the blink of an eye they were producing amazing fish pictures along with mermaids and octopi.

So I started to reproduce what they had drawn.

I didn’t really do them justice…

Kahu oversaw the sewing and gave me direction.

Now imagine if I had drawn my stupid fish as a template and told them to copy that. Imagine if I had told them to draw around it and that would give them the ‘correct’ fish shape and to make it with a certain pattern that looks like scales, or a particular colour. You think this would be silly to do, but this is what most kindys and schools do. Children’s artistic eye and talent squashed before they are even 8. Their belief in their ability to draw or create, limited by their teachers or parents efforts. If their guide is a colouring book and are instructed to fill in the colour, they become disheartened very quickly. Many can’t even keep within the lines and to to it off parents sit beside them and colour in perfectly.

How many adults say they can’t draw? How many children of four tell you, they can’t draw? They don’t do they. They just experiment. It doesn’t matter if the fish has gills or tails or head. It doesn’t matter if it’s in water or the sky. It doesn’t matter what colour it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s believable or not. It just is what it is…and that is what it should be.

We limit our kids in so many ways by preventing that experimentation in so many facets of life. This is simply a reminder to me that we should allow the freedom to blossom. Not everyone is going to be an amazing artist but let’s allow freedom in learning in a way that fosters their natural curiosities and growth.

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3 Responses to Go Fish

  1. Sian says:

    This is wonderful! When I was studying Early Childhood we did a unit that was similar, how we force children to meet our standards, squashing their creativity.
    Will share this with my teacher (and parent) friends 🙂 x

    • figsforfree says:

      I studied early childhood too Sian but when teaching was appalled at how much ‘guidance’ children got. Happy to share. Sometimes we just need a reminder …or a revelation!

  2. Pe says:

    This cheers my heart to find a link to this this morning! Lucky kids!
    Warm wishes to you the kids and the fishes,
    Pennie Brownlee

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