Art centered around
the geometric shapes is how we begin our teaching. The letters the
child must learn after all are simply triangles, circles, squares and
Any language really
is just art and this reaches as far back as we are able to read those
pictographs of markings on the pyramids. The letter begins with a
picture and gradually evolves to a symbol.
I taught my
granddaughter art first. She is eight now and can draw just about
anything she wishes just by looking at it. There are two simple ways
to teach drawing. One is with the onion skin tracing paper. No! It is
not a sin to trace. This teaches the child to look at the outside
lines of an object. When I was teaching her I made her aware some
would say she was not really drawing when she traced things, but that
she should not be concerned, because this is how she would learn to
draw, through practice.
The second way is to
cut out stencils of simple objects, letters of the alphabet included.
The child can go around the inside edges of the cut out, coloring the
space and when the stencil is lifted the object is there forming an
imprint on their mind. Use heavier paper for this. For some reason,
although art is a right brained activity, it increases the ability to
do left brained activities such as math. I can't explain this. My
grandson did not know the word “edge.” We talked about the edge of
objects and I made sure he understood. There is a discussion about
edges in one of my lessons on the art page. It is a very important
part of art and is how the artist directs the observers eye with the
use of hard or soft edges. Being able to control these edges by
learning the techniques for doing so is necessary in becoming an
accomplished illustrator. At this place we simply are teachiang this
because obviously he will not learn it anyplace else.
There are endless
things to put together with the basic shapes. Today, we made a stencil
of the word “AT.” We then did simple drawings from the basic shapes
for RAT, MAT, CAT, BAT, FAT (a puffy stick figure), BRAT (a smiley
face with the smile turned upside down and horns on its head). After
the words were learned, and you will be surprised at how quickly a
child will learn them. I drew the picture, he colored it, and I wrote
the word beneath the picture.
We put together a
“book” using the words in short sentences, allowing the child to
“Read” the different colored “AT” word from the other print (I used
red) . Some short sentence like, “A FAT RAT,” etc. Keep the sentences
short. A BAT, RAT AT A MAT, A FAT CAT, etc. In your mind these may be
negative words. In a child's fresh mind they are simply fun words with
no previous hang ups as to their being anything but positive. Isn't
this the joy of a child?
The purpose in using
these words is that they are all of a fur like texture. Which takes us
into another phase of art, and that is of texture. Using the cut out
stencil I used a large fluffly brush with a dry brush method
(accomplished by dabbing the heaviesst paint off before use). This is
for the teaching of the “stipple” technique. By holding the brush
straight up and down, not at an angle like when writing with a pencil,
we stipple with the dry brush. The results are a fur like look for the
mat, the cat, the rat and the bat. The stipple techique is not to be
looked down upon. One of the greatest of artists, Corot, used this
method totally. He never did drag his brush on the canvas. The results
are the beautiful soft edges giving a sort of a glow to his work.
The Dr. Suess Book,
Cat in a Hat is good reading at this time. Children begins to get a
very real understanding of how words are being put together to tell a
story and they love it. Also, all at once they are reading, and the
encouragement spurs them on to begin to want to learn more.
The very most
important thing to remember when teaching a child is NOT, what you are
getting across to them, but that you are creating a climate and a love
for learning. The instructions are coming from a loved one and it is
more valuable and easier for you to impart your knowledge since the
initial barriers of possible personality “strangeness is not there.”
Do not worry that you may not be a qualified teacher. We, after all,
are all teachers in some way or another. The greatest experience in my
life was when my rancher father taught me to read at the age of four
in the middle of the morning on his break from chores. The cozy time
around a warm wood stove while the winds howled outside gave me more
than I have ever had to fortify and strengthen my love for learning.
My father had a third grade education.