Early Childhood Education/ Student Teaching
December 10, 2013

Observing and Drawing a Fire Truck

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Remember my post about the local fire station in Okayama paying our school a visit? Well, we couldn’t just leave it at that. After they finished their presentation, all of the teachers set out a huge tarp on the playground with paper and pastels for the children to reflect on their experience. Such an awesome idea!

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I’m a sucker for oil pastels. They just feel so good in your hand and there is something satisfying about the feel of them gliding on the paper. Am I alone in this feeling? It’s just satisfying! The smudging on the paper is amazing. It’s a perfect sensory experience.

The kids were given no instruction on what to do. It was all very open ended, even though all of them ended up drawing the fire truck since it was right in front of them. It was really interesting to see the different interpretations that the kids had of the same fire truck. They studied it closely and observed it from different angles. Their artwork was beautiful. Since the kids’ ages ranged from three to five, their drawings were varied according to their developmental stage… which was beautiful to see for me personally as an educator. 🙂

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It’s funny because a lot of the time, there are very small details that get lost when you are just casually looking at something. The kids highlighted various things about the fire truck in their pictures that I hadn’t even noticed since I wasn’t drawing it myself.

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Surely they were gaining a deeper understanding of the fire truck. What’s even crazier to me is that this sort of thing wasn’t seen often in American schools. Most field trips and experiences like this consist of making children sit quietly while they are fed information. Afterwards, they just move on with their day. I feel like this type of learning, where the children lead an investigation, leaves a more lasting impression of the experience that they are more likely to remember.

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It was a good day. I am still evolving as a teacher. I’m excited to see where I’ll be ten, twenty, even thirty years from now. 🙂

Q: What do you think? Is hands on learning better?

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