|Atelié Carombola Escola de Eduçao Infantil |
Mosaic Marks, an exhibit from the Municipal Schools of Reggio Emilia
Mark making starts early in a child’s life and is a building block to brain functions, literacy skills, self-expression, relationships, and communicating. When that finger, stick, brush, or pen encounters paper, clay, or stone and leaves a trace, a lot is happening. The hand, body, and mind are engaged and coordinated. Small motor skills and eye-hand coordination are developing.
|Photo credit: Interaction Imaginations|
we are paying attention, children will tell us. They talk as they develop their idea; their words offer glimpses into their thinking; they give clues about what these marks mean to them. An arrangement of lines or shapes across a page might be a fledgling idea for a code, a diagram showing how a seed grows, or a lost island. The meanings of these marks are not fixed, but likely change as the child encounters them again and experiences them in a new way. A child may describe a drawing differently now and tomorrow telling a parent, caregiver, teacher, or friend about the marks on the page or in the clay. That spiral is a sleeping cat today; tomorrow it’s a windstorm; the next day it’s a new galaxy.
|Children's Museum of Pittsburgh|
- Focusing on the mark maker.
- Exploring the conditions that encourage, support, and expand the possibilities of mark making.
- Integrating mark making into a wide range of activities, experiences, and spaces across the museum.
- Focus on the mark maker. Whether novice or experienced, an individual’s interest in the world and what it offers, and finding a place in that world is the impetus for mark making. Mark making nurtures the individual’s voice, ideas, and thinking.
- Situate mark makers at the center of an experience. Who are they? What are they curious about? Allow flexibility for how children encounter, explore, and engage.- Frame questions around developing an understanding of mark making. How do children fill a space with their marks? What are intriguing forms for them?- Observe children’s attention to their mark making. What are their initial marks? How do they elaborate on them? How do they use instruments to explore, transform surfaces? What brings them delight?- Listen to children narrate what they are doing. What words do they use to talk about their drawing or project? Does a story emerge from the gestures? How does their telling change?- Reflect on how children respond to and use materials, surfaces, words, and feelings. How do they work with them individually? Together? How might children’s images, symbols, ideas, and efforts be extended to other experiences?- Document in words and photos insights into children’s thinking about their mark making in a format that serves as a tool for creating new mark making experiences.
- Explore the conditions that encourage, support, and expand the possibilities of mark making. A wider range and richer mix of materials invite a deeper exploration of mark making. Push the obvious limits to create new and wider openings for mark making; search beyond the art studio. Check the shed, shop, kitchen, or woods; look for both materials and ideas that prompt exploration.
- Think about all the conditions that encourage mark making: materials that modify color, texture, smell; tools, instruments, and media that shape and transform; surfaces that hold marks; ideas to explore; and time to engage and focus.- Select varied materials and objects: brushes, markers, pens; sticks, feathers, straws, yarn, cord, wire, fabric, torn paper; leaves, seeds, or petals; found objects; crayons, charcoal, chalk, paint, ink- Look around for tools, instruments, and media: an overhead projector, cameras, light, mirrors, circuits, hammers, saws, scrapers, and etchers. - Include surfaces for receiving marks may be textured, porous, or contoured: walls, rocks and stones, sand, the earth, mud, clay, bubble wrap, foil, fabric, sandpaper and wood planks.- Experiment. Some materials change with use or interact with other materials in various ways. Water evaporates, light creates shadows; creative accidents happen. Go big with rolls of paper. Add plant material. Select materials with special properties such as clear acetate; overlays invite children experimenting with backgrounds, foregrounds and combining drawings.- Above all, think how invitations to mark making that are a starting point for greater explorations.
- Integrate mark making into a wide range of activities, experiences, and spaces across the museum. More than lines and shapes on paper and more than an art activity, mark making is an act of a person having an impact on the world. Recognizing the importance of this powerful, natural disposition acknowledges individuals, makes children’s capabilities visible, and enriches the museum experience for others.
- Extend mark making invitations into exhibits, programs, and social spaces to invite new ways of looking and thinking. Put sketch pads at the top of the climber; roll out great lengths of paper on the studio floor; add materials to a light table; invite map making at the water table or the city building area. Add a friendly provocative question to initiate exploration.- Vary the context for mark making activities to provide inspiration, new perspectives, or introduce varied conditions. Take mark making outside; vary the scale; go to new heights; incorporate natural materials; add music; use the whole body.- Incorporate mark-making into materials exploration, investigating light, shadow, color; building gizmos; imaginative play, STEM play, and nature exploration.- Showcase children’s work, using their images and drawings to help interpret concepts and express the museum’s value of thinkers and doers.
|Louisiana Children's Museum|
Photo credit: Jeanne Vergeront
- A Traveling exhibit from Reggio Children, Mosaic of marks, words, materials will be in New Orleans in fall 2021. The exhibit is based on an investigation to gain a better understanding of the poetic interweaving between children’s drawings and words, in order to restore to drawing, to the instruments.