SAIIER 2016:Play of Painting at the Kindergarten

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Drama at the Kindergarten
SAIIER Annual Report 2015-16 icon.jpg




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Last School
Play of Painting at the Kindergarten


Introduction

The purpose of Play of Painting at the Kindergarten is to support the personality development of children through painting.

The atelier is a safe place enclosed in big vertical panels that shelters the inner necessity of expression from influences and distractions, from the exterior world and from all that prevent the child to be herself. Here, the natural trace, a pure emanation of the body, can appear freely on the paper.

This place was created for the revelation of the personality and each child can be as she/he is, beyond notions of competition and success.

Description of project

Play of Painting has been offered at the Kindergarten for the last 13 years, starting in 2003.

During the sessions groups of children paint freely together: no subject or theme is imposed. In the centre of the room is a Table-Palette with 18 pots of different colours and high quality paintbrushes. The educator "is not an instructor or task master, he is a helper and a guide", as told by Sri Aurobindo in the first principle of education. Each group paints once a week. Regular practice over a long period of time is necessary (at least one school year).

Arno Stern discovered that it is only in these specific conditions that the inner language of the organic memory can manifest itself as a set of 70 signs that he calls "Formulation". The signs of the Formulation repeat themselves systematically and evolve in the same order, whatever the nationality, age, culture and background of the child. Each child paints them in her own style. It means that a "répertoire" of those patterns exists in each of us human beings. It is connected to the memory of the sensations of the intra-uterin life, called "cellular memory" by biologists : the memory of the body since the origin of life, a profound and universal trace.

The educator of the Play of Painting must study in depth the signs of the Formulation and their innumerable combinations in order to serve the children without judgment. Years of practice are necessary to acquire this respectful attitude in front of the child and her work.

In 2015-16, this activity was offered to children of different ages every week. Children from Kindergarten, TLC, Transition and Deepanam schools, from Sadhana Forest, and a few adult Aurovilians painted.

In addition, paints were regularly prepared and mixed for 3 groups of the Kindergarten for the teachers to conduct their own creative activities in their classrooms.

The Play of Painting team at Kindergarten is Claire and Ammu, assisted by Thérésa and Michelle; at Udavi School on Saturdays it is Claire, assisted by Claudine.

Outcomes

For the past 13 years, the paintings have been kept and archived in chronological order, with one or more folders per child. Those archives are precious to observe children's paintings evolution over 2, 3 and sometimes 4, 5 and more years. They are kept as a respect for the child and her work.

Interested parents and children can make an appointment with us to see all their paintings in chronological order, displayed on the big panels. As a painting can grow by adding more papers over weeks or months, sometimes a child had the joy to see one of her paintings covering a full panel.

Those meetings are a wonderful experience for parents and children. Parents have the opportunity to see all the paintings of their child, which is important because they don't take them at home. They ask many questions about our work with the children, and how to create at home a space for them to draw and paint safely and happily. For that, the parent respectful and loving attitude is of utmost importance.

In Play of Painting the child can paint what she needs to paint at the moment, giving her a moment of relaxation. Old tensions are released. Often, an agitated child calm down during a session.

The child's creativity develops naturally. As a result, her confidence in her own abilities and capacities grows. She discovers them with wonder. A new attitude of respect towards oneself and others, towards life itself, is born.

Reflections

The most meaningful thing about of Play of Painting to me (Claire) is that by tracing freely, without imposed subjects, the child draw her strength from herself: what a joy, what a wonder to create her own world! Capacities and needs are in a perfect equilibrium.

What I could have done differently: Some of the groups could be smaller, especially with very young children of the Kindergarten, to be able to give more presence to each child. Instead of about 15 children, those groups could be with 8 to 10 children.

Conclusion

Painting and drawing are essential tools for the healthy and happy growth of children!