Sometimes I have issues with the holidays in the classroom. I worry that parents expect their children to come home with perfectly made crafts that express the joy of the season and look beautiful on, or near, a Christmas tree. The problem with this is, I work with two-year-olds. At the age of two, children have no realization that a project is supposed to be done a certain way; it is simply supposed to be done. Take painting, for example. They don’t paint to make a picture of a tree or a house or a person. They paint so that they can explore how the paintbrush moves the paint across the paper, or how the paint feels on their hand, or how the colors of the paint look when they mix together. They don’t worry about what the paper looks like when they are done.
This year I am doing “Holidays Around the World” in my classroom, and I have been hard-pressed trying to find art projects that reflect the different cultures that we are talking about, but still allow the children to enjoy the process of doing the art. Not to mention that, at age two, children really have no concept of a world out there that could be so different that they celebrate all of these different things.
I enjoy watching children do art and explore with art materials. There is a look of concentration that shows on their face that doesn’t show up all of the time. They become very focused on the task at hand, even of their idea the task is different than what I intended the task to be. I get a feel for each individual child’s true attention span as they immerse themselves in the materials.
This is why I love doing art with two-year-olds, and am going to try hard to come up with art projects that will convey the holiday spirit while allowing the children to explore the materials.