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Project 4: How children understand death

Subject of drawing: Sometimes I think I will never...

This project is designed to help you understand other fears your children may have. Your children possess unique fears that result from their inability to control situations. If you help them express these sorts of fears you might understand how you could help them achieve important milestones in the future. Knowing they have your support will ease their fears and help them turn to you for support.

Interview sentences 

Before talking about the drawings, ask each child to complete the following open-ended statements about their picture. One at a time read aloud the fill-in-the-blank statements below. Write completed sentences on the back of the picture, or ask them to tell you what to write.

The name of my picture is:
I wish I could:
If I could change one thing I would:
Sometimes it seems like:
Don’t ever expect me to:
What I need most today is:

Show and tell

After completing the sentences, tell your children that you hope they will share something about their drawing. Tell them that they can share whatever they want to share, and suggest they begin by reading the sentences that summarize the picture.

If children agree to share, ask who will go first and begin the process taking turns. If children are reluctant to share you may share your drawing first. Read the sentences on the back of your picture. Model a brief show and tell so they learn that sharing even a little is okay. Then ask if they have questions about your drawing. Continue taking turns.

After each family member shares his thoughts, ask if it would be okay for family members to share their reflections about the drawing. If this is okay, take the first turn and model appropriate, uncritical reflections. It is important not to comment about the quality of a picture but to focus on its content. For example: Martha, I noticed you are very tiny in the picture or Sam, I noticed you used only the black crayon today. (Words for all to avoid: nice, good, pretty, beautiful, ugly, dumb, etc.)

Round table discussion

After everyone has shared ask if there are other things they think are impossible. How would they like the family to be different in the future. If you have enough time or on another day, build a mobile together and put each of the family members on the mobile to represent the family today. Show how the movement of one family member causes motion for all the family. As each changes, we all change.

Read more about this project.


Art Exercises© Jeanne D. Ritterson 1998

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