Some of our children were very inspired when Kim read this great book called ‘KIWI, the real story’ by local author Annemarie Florian and illustrated by local artist Heather Hunt.
They wanted to represent a little bit about what they knew about kiwi’s through their drawings. Pictures from this book were used as provocations and as they drew, their language around what they knew and what they wanted to share just flowed. This is what we often refer to as observational drawing.
“Drawing is the backbone of almost every art discipline and a fundamental form of communication. This makes the ability to translate what the eye sees onto paper a valuable skill for all artists.
Before one can toss aside convention and explore the abstract and the fantastic the original form and realistic representation must be understood. Observational drawing is the way to exercise the connection between what the eyes see and what ends up on paper or canvas. It requires focus as well as attention to detail and the ability to find relationships. The relationship of one object to another and the relationship of those objects in space.
The practice of observational drawing will improve concentration, drawing skill and your overall ability to see the world around you.” (Kunstler)
The children all shared their thoughts and ideas around what they knew about kiwi’s.
“I know how to say the noise a kiwi makes – key key key key! They hunt for food, bugs and ants. Kiwi’s are scared from dogs because they kill them. I love kiwi’s because they lay eggs and their beautiful feathers and their beautiful claws and their beautiful beak.” (Liliana)
“Kiwi live in a bush and then they eat bugs and then they want to go to their dads and then they want to go to their mums. I love kiwi’s because they don’t bite me.” (Kate B.)
“They live in the bush every day and come out at night time and they play. Kiwi’s like to eat bugs. They are afraid of scary sharks and monsters too.” (Kate G.)
“Kiwi’s live in the bush and they eat bugs. Dogs and cats and rats worry kiwi’s because they might bite them.” (Jaimee)
“Kiwi’s live in a burrow and they come out at night. They look for food. Dogs scare kiwi’s and cats and rats scare them too cause they can eat their eggs. Dogs kill the kiwi’s. I am making an egg and this is a nest with lots of sticks. I drawed my kiwi and a snail because the kiwi likes to eat the snail” (Lucas)
“Kiwi’s live in the woods and they find bugs. They sit on their eggs for 15 minutes. They then might be cracked and the babies will come out.” (Emma)
“This is a kiwi eating a bug. Kiwi’s live in the grass. They say ‘Brrr brrr brrr’.” (Chamodhi)
“Kiwi’s live in the bush and them eat bugs. Kiwi’s like hiding and playing hide and seek.” (Hori)
After creating these first kiwi masterpieces the idea of making a clay kiwi was introduced and many of the children jumped on board with this notion. When working with the clay we talked about the shapes that we needed to make to create our kiwi. The children involved really enjoyed this tactile experience, seeing their ideas and knowledge of the kiwi come to life in 3D form and the end result was such a wonderful little clay bird.
“Clay work can be a language for exploring and communicating ideas. Like drawing, clay work enables children to make their ideas visible – but in three dimensions” (Koble)
On a later occasion some of the children also drew another great picture of a kiwi using black vivid on white paper with a bit of coloured pencil. This was very effective and they were very proud of their pictures.
Their interest in these iconic native birds carried on for quite a few days and on a few occasions I have heard the children sharing their knowledge of kiwi’s with others. This interest flowed on to the teachers reading other stories about kiwi and from this many more children had the opportunity to learn about them.
It so lovely that this interested was sparked when reading a story book by a local author and a local artist. We have some very talented people among us in Northland and in this case they have created a fantastic learning opportunity for a wide group of children in our Kindergarten.
Pai te mahitahi – good sharing!