City of children exhibition (2012)

City of children

Art plays a fundamental role in the human development process.  Through exploration of form children are able to express and explore themselves and their environment.  Art-making is a natural part of growth that facilitates young children to illustrate and explain the world in which they live (Danko-McGhee & Slutsky, 2003).  Before words there is form.  Through engagement with form children are able to say what they do not yet have the words to express.  The opportunity this allows children is the ability to present their thoughts and feelings through shape and colour in a way which is natural and accessible.

Children will naturally construct visual patterns that will later be implemented in formal writing.  However, whilst learning and development occurs naturally in young children, they will not occur automatically without conscious contributions from adults (Danko-McGhee & Slutsky, 2003).  As such, adults can support this development process through the creation of conditions in which young artistic expression can thrive.

The ‘City of Children’ Art Project was established in Childspace Early Childhood Education Centre, Northland, Wellington.  The project used a dynamic expressionist process that allowed children to represents their spontaneity through painting on a large professional canvas.  The tamariki were provided with the context in which they were able to express their curiosity and to relate their imagination with the environment.