Far Hills Country Day School's Annual Preschool Collaborative Artwork is a meaningful project that celebrates the students' growth and time together. This year, the project was completed entirely during Distance Learning in the Spring.
"This year, the project looked a little different, but the children were up for the challenge," said Kailyn Cavaluzzo, Far Hills Country Day School Preschool Studio teacher. "They all worked so hard to come up with this idea and bring it to life. They came up with the theme, brainstormed things they might see in a garden, and did observational drawings of what they wanted to contribute. Everyone put a piece of themselves into the magical scene."
Ms. Cavaluzzo met with small groups of students virtually every day for 15-20 minutes to work on the project.
"The children were used to working on sustained long-term projects in person, but attempting this virtually was a whole new experience for everyone," explained Ms. Cavaluzzo. "We broke the project down into several stages to keep students engaged and excited about each step."
The students learned what it meant to collaborate creatively and how working together might make a project better than doing it alone.
They then considered different themes that could work for the project: a cave, garden, watering hole, desert, and jungle. The students recognized that these scenes had many different exciting elements that they could research and that there would likely be something for everybody.
Once they voted and decided to make a garden, the students made brainstorming drawings and circle maps to depict ideas of what they might find in or around a garden. Together, they researched as needed to answer any questions (for example, would a banana tree be in a garden by us?). The students chose one or two things that they were most interested in researching and drawing as their "part of the whole."
They were responsible for coming up with any "wonderings": How many legs does a caterpillar have? What patterns are on a snake's back?
Ms. Cavaluzzo compiled a document of reference photos for each child and links to answer their questions. The children used reference photos to make observational drawings of their creatures or plants. The students were encouraged to look closely at the little details and represent it in their "best work."
Parents took photos of the finished pieces of artwork and submitted them to Ms. Cavaluzzo to create the final design. The final image was shared live virtually so that each student could see themselves represented in the whole of the garden.
Well done, Preschoolers!