Who Says Preschoolers Are Too Young For Art History?


Over my 40 years of teaching Preschoolers, I have explored many Teaching Units to introduce these young ones to famous Artists and their Masterpieces. We've had great fun with a "smorgasbord" of art mediums! And, including the "dramatic play" aspect of a famous artist is always a big hit with the children.

These four-year olds love to put on the artist beret & smock and head straight for the easel for some serious painting. Adding a plastic paint palette only adds to the fun and raises the activity to the next level: mixing colors!

A great way to have fun pretending to be a real artist is to take turns with a friend: one is the artist and one is the artist's model. I love watching how still the model can be and this duo in the photos spent quite a long time at this activity and were very serious. I included a small "wardrobe" of dress up clothes and a mirror for the children to choose their favorites!

An AMAZING! resemblance, especially when you take a look at the details...from the hat, to the yellow shirt to the striped vest and cute pants. And if you look closely, in the photos, at the  "model's" shoes you can see that they were actually cute  red-flowered tennis shoes with a pair of blue socks as well... reproduced wonderfully & accurately in the young "artist's" painting!

I love the Great Masters myself and especially the "Expressionist" painters! In this particular Art History Unit for Preschoolers, the children were learning about Marc Chagall. So, I did provide a funky (thrift store find) violin as a prop and lots of colorful clothes, too. (Remember: Chagall's famous painting titled "Fiddler On The Roof") I made sure that the costumes were fun for both boys & girls, and the props can add just the right touch! For the child who wants to paint a "self portrait" I made sure there was a mirror nearby and lots of shades of skin-colored paints. It's not difficult at all these days to find nice prints done by famous artists and you can usually locate at least one self portrait (you can often download one from Google images) so I always display the featured artist's self portrait near the prints that I have placed in frames and hung near the easel in the classroom.

                                                         "Fiddler" by Marc Chagall

So, as you can see---Art History can be a BIG hit with the "Preschool Crowd" who are discerning artists in their own right!

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