Archive for November, 2012

to give a wall the “pulse of life”

Posted 06 Nov 2012 — by Jennifer
Category Uncategorized

Children went outside yesterday to draw the birds and nesting area in the wall near the school’s entrance. As luck would have it, the birds were not home at that time. All of the children, however, chose to draw the nests with birds in them: mama birds, baby birds, and eggs.
The teacher asked the children if they actually saw the birds in the wall, encouraging them to draw what they see. I whispered to her, “they can’t, they don’t want to separate out the life.” I was reminded of Vea Vecchi’s words in “Art and Creativity in Reggio Emilia,” p.7:

“Taking leaves as an example, Goethe argued that the terminology used to name their various parts was unsatisfactory, using words which are too abstract, too far removed from the life built up by related structures. Saying ‘stem’ has little meaning if it is not placed in a relationship of growth and life with other living elements.”

and, on p. 8:

“An empathetic attitude, the sympathy or antipathy towards something we do not investigate indifferently, produces a relationship with what brings us to introduce a ‘beat of life’ into explorations we carry out. “

The children would not? could not? draw an inanimate wall without the birds living inside. They brought life and empathy to the empty bricks, as they spoke and drew about warm places, mama birds, and babies. They gave the wall a “pulse of life” (Vecchi, p. 7) that it did not have, and imagined relationships of caring and nurturing.