“Mothers are the fountain of creation.” ~ Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Preparing for Mother’s Day has made the classroom a busy place with much going on. We have been making cards that include coupon books with hand written promises to do something thoughtful for our mom, like make tea or water the plants. The children made cards containing miniature paintings. They also threaded necklaces using rolled paper beads they made themselves (with a little help!), and beads made from baking soda clay that they decorated with markers. We make such gifts to express our love and to show our mothers appreciation for all that they give us. Mother’s Day has a rich history, and this tradition of gift-giving is part of a circle of creation – the creation of our life, the creation of an environment that inspires us and nurtures our ability to express ourselves, and the creation of gifts that show our gratitude and bring beauty into the lives of those we love.
“When we were children, every day after school, my brother and sister and I would go to my mother’s office. It was full of pencils and markers and fabrics and beads. It was so much fun to be a child and to express my creativity through drawing and playing dress-up in all of the wonderful and colorful clothes.” ~ Margherita Missoni
Mothers who receive these gifts know the kind of creative energy that children put into making things. One of my favourite picture books is Art by Patrick McDonnell. This story so sweetly captures this energy and reminds readers of what parents do to support it. They provide various art materials to explore, space for displaying their child’s work, and most imporantly parents provide encouragement and unconditional love. A child’s enjoyment of creating art begins with a strong start at home. Parents know the benefits of art for children. So when they open a gift that contains a tiny painting and a necklace threaded with hand-made beads, they understand the learning that has taken place. Fine motor skills have been strengthened through handling paintbrushes and glue sticks, and manipulating clay. Colours have been identified and carefully selected. Ideas have been expressed. Ingredients have been measured, mixed and transformed. Decision-making and planning have taken place. Readily available materials have been upcycled. Beautiful things have been made that did not exist before. The gift in the bag is not simply a finished product, but the result of sophisticated thinking, growth in each developmental domain, and an innate drive to create.
“I have this necklace I always wear. I collect pendants from people I love; my best friends and members of my family have all given me one, and I put them on this chain so no matter where I am they’re always with me.” ~ Lake Bell
It gives me a lot of pleasure to watch children in action as they create something lovely for their parents, to see the excitement build as we wait to surprise them. As an educator, it makes me happy to be one small “bead” in the “necklace” of a child’s learning, to know that in some small way I contribute to a trajectory of growth and development that has its important beginnings at home. Mothers (and fathers too!) entrust me with the care and education of their children, and for me it is a privilege to share my own enthusiasm for the arts with them, to foster in children a love of creating and a belief that they are artists. It is a reason that I share ideas and resources with parents (and with other educators) as they support children’s learning and artistic expression. This blog post is my gift to all the moms out there, and to the children who love them so very much, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day!