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A Sampling of Self-Portraits

October 11, 2009


We rarely ask all students to work with the same materials, to sit down and produce an idea that the didn’t come from their own minds.  We believe that it is the right of children to have some control over the direction of their learning, and that children possess the curiosity, inquiry, and motivation required to drive their own learning.  It’s not practical to expect that all students are ready or interested to learn the same things, and therefore much of the learning in our class occurs in small groups, according to the interests and skills of the students involved.  However, if a whole-class activity does take place, we believe that it must be one that provides for the diversity of learning and development occurring in any early childhood classroom.  One way of doing this is through art materials.

Now, after telling you all of that, here are several samples of self-portraits that we asked all students to make.  Before you accuse me of preaching one thing and practicing another, let me pitch my argument:  we will use these self-portraits for the covers of student portfolios, which we compile to show the learning and growth of each student from the beginning of the year to the end.  On the back cover will be another self-portrait, completed at the end of the year.  Rather than shooting a posed picture which shows us little about a child, a self-portrait shows fine motor development, artistic aesthetic, and the self-perception of each child.

Self-portraits are with  black permanent markers on transparency paper.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Robin permalink
    October 15, 2009 5:28 am

    I love the self-portraits. They bring back wonderful memories of the charm and uniqueness of young artists. I too started the school year with self-portraits, then followed with pictures of their family and where they lived. How they depicted family members was intriguing. I was most amused when the family pet had a greater importance than their parents or siblings. When they drew their home, their ability to capture it’s essence and characteristics was incredible. I not only could tell what part of town they lived in, but whether their house was a bungalow, ranch, two story or apartment, and the kind of building materials used — wood clapboard, brick, etc….. The younger the child, the keener the eye.

    If you want a real hoot asked them to draw pictures of fellow teachers or school personnel!

  2. October 19, 2009 2:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing these – I just did some writing about self-portraits as well. I think using different prompts is interesting as well – we have used photographs, mirrors, or nothing at all. It has only been a few weeks, but it is a project that we’ll revisit throughout the year.

    Have fun in Reggio this week – I’ll be going next week! I’m looking forward to coming back and hearing your reflections!

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