Over the last couple of weeks at Kindergarten we have been studying sunflowers. We have had some beautiful sunflowers growing in our flowerbed; these have been the inspiration for provoking a group of children’s initial interest.
Over these few weeks we have examined the sunflowers up close.
We have cut some sunflowers down, placed them in a vase inside, and have at times used a magnifying glass to draw our attention to all their finer details.
As the days have progressed we have shared our ideas on sunflowers with our friends and explored one of the sunflower paintings by Vincent van Gogh.
Many children have chosen to complete some observational drawings whilst others have sustained their interest and intrigue by simply looking, feeling and touching the sunflowers up close.
“Observational drawing invites children to look very closely at things and to notice all the details. In turn it encourages children to make more intricate drawings than they do from memory alone, often leading to joyful discoveries. It is part of the process of ‘learning to see’” (Kolbe, 2009)
As we began our observational drawings we used just black vivid pen on white paper (no colour). This intentional act enables children to think more deeply about what they are drawing; to really see the structure and "bones" of the sunflower, its lines and its form.
When many of the children appeared to have finished their drawings, I gently encouraged them to look at the sunflower again ‘look and draw’. This simple prompt encouraged many children to notice just that little bit extra; for instance the delicate lines just visible on the petals, the prickly stalk, the pointed shape of the petals or the small seeds in the head of the flower that look like miniature flowers.
The details that have been added to the drawings through the children's careful observations are just wonderful.
'Remaining open to continuous learning'
Over these few weeks I have gradually invited the children back to re-visit their drawings, this time suggesting the possibility of adding some colour. Before we began though, we took a little more time to discuss and observe the sunflowers once more.
I'm sure you'll agree that adding colour has truly brought these stunning pictures to life?
Such intricate and detailed work requires patience, persistence and as you can see lots of concentration.
Whilst working alongside the children, I have encouraged each of them to discuss their ideas and knowledge of sunflowers, as well as share their work with others. As everybody reflected on the sunflowers and talked openly, I wrote all their words down. I have now turned these thoughts into a poem; this has turned out to be a beautiful collaborative piece of art from many children, which demonstrates to all of us that there is more than one way to view a sunflower.
“As children listen to each other’s ideas and see each other’s work, they have opportunities to learn that there are different points of view. Through exploring a topic in different ways and from different perspectives, they expand their understandings” (Kolbe, 2007, p.111)
We hope you enjoy reading this.
Sunflowers feel like the sun
Sunflowers feel like the sun, yellow, spikey, high.
Sometimes they are sad, sometimes they are happy.
Sunflowers look like a shower, prickly, lovely, pretty.
Sunflowers grow from seeds, yellow, black and green.
Sunflowers are wow, so so wow.
Sunflowers smell yum, petals, tiny, huge.
Sunflowers grow so tall, like a light, sunny bright blooms.
Sunflowers have heads, inside are tiny tiny flowers.
Sunflowers are my favourite, sunflowers feel like the sun.