It really does help to focus if we look at Miss Mason’s principles and then determine what to do from there. Here are some of her principles that come to mind: 1. The child needs to learn about the world around him 2. The child needs to learn the habit of attention and observation, careful, accurate observation. 3. The child should draw what he sees.
So, from these principles, I come to this conclusion: “draw what you have in your hand.” That might be a leaf on the ground, a blade of grass, a bud from a tree, a dandelion, an ant, a leaf from a houseplant, your cat’s left ear, its paw, the guinea pig’s toes, a particular cloud.’
Some of these things you can carry into the house and set before the children on a neutral background and have them sketch from there. We have sketched a bird that flew into a window right before my eyes, and broke its neck. Within seconds, we had the poor sparrow on a bit of newspaper and the pencils and papers out. We have sketched a chicken’s beak, and a geranium that just bloomed, because they were available.
The main thing is to take advantage of what you have, so a formal plan may not work very well. Next is to teach the children somehow not to flip out over bad drawings. The point is not the drawings, it’s the type of detailed observations you make in order to attempt a drawing.
You can ask some questions as they look- how many petals, how many toes, how many stripes, what does this shape remind you of, what does the color remind you of, what else does this look like, how big is it, what is the texture like, how does it behave, what does it do, what was it doing when you found it…?
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