When we look at art with children we do it in stages.
We obviously begin letting the child observe the painting. We talk about spending time with the painting and doing some ‘slow looking’ which is very different from the fast paced world in which our children are growing up.
We then use the approach of:
I see, I think, and I wonder.
Ask your child what they notice. Not yet what’s happening in that painting, only what they observe, something they could reach out and touch.
When your child has talked about what they can see, move on to the next stage of I think.
Ask what is going on in the painting, building layers of tentative interpretation. Push for alternatives and additions.
What’s going on?
What are the puppies doing? What do you think that the dog on the chair is thinking?
What do you think the puppies are thinking?
Why do you think they are pulling at the tablecloth?
What has fallen onto the floor already?
What do think is going to happen next?
What do you think the mother dog should do? How do you think she feels? What does the look on her face say?
Are the puppies being naughty? Why or why not? What do you think?
Can things that are fun also be dangerous? Should you still do them? Why or why not?
Do you think the puppies are using any Habits of Mind? Persisting?Why or why not? Is this ‘a responsible risk’ that they are taking?
Ask your child what they are now wondering about the painting based on their observations and thoughts.
Encourage them to begin a sentence with “I wonder…”
You may have to show them how to do it by voicing what you wonder eg…. I wonder where the owner is, I wonder what will happen, I wonder if they are hungry and want food? etc
Share the thinking, encouraging your child to talk about their thinking.
Good general questions to help the discussion:
What makes you say that?
What can you see that makes you think that?
What’s going on here?
Is it an old or new painting? What makes you say that?