Preschoolers grow through art via collaboration, respect


WALLA WALLA — Taking philisophical inspiration from Italian preschools in Reggio Emilia, the staff at The Kids’ Place work with their young charges’ interests and consider art one of the many languages of children, said Kathy McConnell, co-director, in a release.

More specifically, the Reggio Emilia method of teaching immerses youngsters “in an environment dense with potential that promotes literacy, numeracy, problem-solving collaboration and respect,” according to

This past fall, preschoolers at the Walla Walla child-care center used mirrors and learned how to “see” and draw their faces.

Their resulting artworks are on exhibit through Feb. 19 and for sale at Brasserie Four, 4 E. Main St., viewable from noon-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays.

Proceeds raise funds for the non-profit school. An artists’ reception will be from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 19.

“The amazing full-size portraits in this show document what children can do when encouraged to communicate through art,” McConnell said. Small self-portraits are mounted on wood blocks and priced at $10 each.

Their co-created canvases came about when small groups of artists worked on a shared interest. And during the previous school year several children made small maps.

“When presented with a large canvas, one child immediately suggested a UPS building and truck.

“As other children suggested places that they knew, a second canvas was started to include all of the ideas.

“Trips to see buildings and photos helped children to portray places accurately. Look for places that you know,” McConnell said.

Ballerinas children drew earlier in the year were mounted on a canvas they painted. Children in the afternoon group worked on three colorful canvases of bugs and reptiles.

All the canvases are being auctioned. Bidding may be done at the register.

Most of the artists in the show will head to kindergarten this fall. McConnell said the 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds and younger pre-school kids used various mediums while working on wood.

The opportunities for children to experiment prepare them for more advanced work, according to the Kids Place website.

Children’s comments on their art are surprising, McConnell said.

“The children watch each other creating, make suggestions to the artist and give feedback on the finished portrait. I’ve yet to hear superficial judgment commentary such as ‘That is pretty’ or ‘It looks good.’ Already, our preschoolers are experts at finding small details that set apart items and experiences that are apparently alike.”

Tell us about your art piece and why it’s important to the world:

I made my house because it makes me happy! It’s important to have art to send to people. It makes them feel happy! That’s important. ­— Boyer

This is a drawing of a magical castle in the grass with a king in his room. Art makes you go slow and look and it makes you happy. ­

— Mitchell

This is special, it is my house. The paint makes it so special. Art makes people smile. ­— Kirby

I think it’s beautiful. It is important to show you art because you can think it is beautiful. ­

— Junebug

My art piece can be fragile. It can make you feel happy and sad and silly.

­— Hatton

This is a painting of my dog Sawyer. I really like Sawyer’s tail. It makes me happy when I see it. Ballet is art. I’m a ballerina.

­— Sydney D.

Tell us about your portrait and why art is important to the world:

This is my dog he is standing up begging. It is important because it makes you feel excited and curious. ­— Madeline

I really like the purple color on my dress and the ladybugs. Art in the world makes people feel happy. ­

— Bridget

This art piece looks just like me, I worked hard and it made me happy. I like my whole family to see art. It makes us feel different ways. I like that. ­— Gus

It turned out so nice. I like my patterns, the circles and the flowers. I worked real hard on the kitty. It looks just like my shirt. It makes the world look so nice. ­

— Ingrid

It’s special because I drew a dinosaur on my shirt. Art can make you laugh and smile that’s why it’s important. I like all of my friends’ art. ­

— Junwon

I made my portrait with a fire. It has a lot of hot sticks in it. I’m waving to my friend Ari. I want him to come camp with me. I like how it looks.

— Tyler

Can you tell my favorite team is the Denver Broncos? I’m a football player. It is important to see it and paint it if you want so it will look beautiful. ­— Brady

I’m wearing my rain boots to step in puddles. I like my outfit. It is something special and you shouldn’t throw it way. ­— Kellen

This is a drawing of a magical castle in the grass with a king in his room. Art makes you go slow and look and it makes you happy. ­

— Mitchell

I like that my jet looks big but it’s actually little. Art can be tricky and art can be fun. That is why it’s important.

­— Myles

It’s special because I have beautiful arms that make me look beautiful. I’m excited to play with my friends at the art show! It looks pretty and it makes you feel happy, some art can’t do that though. Some art makes you feel different. ­

— Sydney B.

This is a picture of my bunny Pepper. He is cute. He likes to sniff our toes. I like that. Why is art important in this world? It makes you happy and it’s fun to have! ­

— Katie

My portrait is special all over. It has beautiful colors. It’s important because people like to see art it makes them feel happy. ­

— Sylvia

I’m wearing a zebra dress. I love to dress up as a zebra. I am also throwing a water balloon. Art is important so things look different and everything will not be the same.

­— Claire

I love my portrait! I’m starting to pitch the ball. My shirt says “Sweets” I love the Walla Walla Sweets. I’m going to go to their games in the summer. I will be a pitcher. It’s important so you can look at it and think that it’s beautiful.

­— Ari

I am playing soccer. I play soccer for real and I am No. 18. I think everyone should try soccer. It’s special because it lets you make things. Origami is also art. ­

— Dakota

My shirt and my pants and my boots are my favorite. My favorite colors are red and grey. I also like blue that is a little lighter than the color of my blue stripes. Art makes people feel good. Art helps you be able to do things and help yourself. Art helps you tell stories. If you like it you can help tell its story. ­

— Huck

My stripped leggings are dark and they are my favorite. My owl is my favorite lovely. That is why she is in the picture. Art is important because it is special. It is special because you can give it to people. ­

— Isabel

I made myself a happy smile that would make people laugh. You can put art in your windows for people to see. When people see it they will be surprised and have a good day. ­

— Noah

I loved painting my stars. They SHINE! Art makes the world pretty. ­

— Evie


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