This is the first time I’ve found an art curriculum that is made specifically for preschoolers. Of course, you can find tons of arts & crafts books, coloring books, activity books, etc.; however, ARTistic Pursuits has created a beautiful fundamental art course for kids who are 3 to 5 years old. We received a copy of the course book The Way They See It for our homeschool use.
The Way They See It is a 26-lesson book that combines art appreciation and projects… at a preschool level! The lessons are so unique in presentation! Each lesson begins with a Grown-Up Talk section to help us as parents to understand what we need to be looking for in our kids’ art development. Then the children are shown a famous work-of-art and learn how to describe what they see based on the discussion questions. Finally, each lesson provides a project for the students to complete based on the methods they have just learned about. The Way They See It involves a variety of media, including painting, drawing, and sculpting.
You will need to do some prep work for this course. Obviously, you’ll need to collect the art supplies (you will probably already have most of them on hand). In addition to collecting materials, you’ll need to read the Grown-Up Talk section ahead of time to prepare your mind (and eyes) to teach by doing.
The first lessons I worked through with Joshua were the ones in the back of the book that are specifically designed to teach your kids FIRST SKILLS of art… holding your scissors, cutting, holding crayons and pencils, etc. I did this WITH him, so he could see the correct way. The only thing I “fixed” while he worked was how he was holding his scissors.
As he got better with his basic skills, we moved on to the main lessons in the book. Big sister even did one of them with us! Josh’s favorite project was the “How Big I Am” drawing. He is not exactly the stay-still-and-do-work type of child (to say the least), so this allowed him to physically get out of his chair and lay down on the floor for Mommy to trace him.
While he was coloring, I talked him through the painting The Cradle by Berthe Morisot, which was the basis for this project. The discussion basically compares being a baby with being “how big you are” now. Although kids this age don’t necessarily have the longest attention spans, I know he was listening and at least soaking in some of it.
Here you can see his finished drawing… As I said before, he’s not the type of kid who sits still for long, and he’s not my artsy one, so here is Joshua’s interpretation of what he looks like…
He had fun with it anyway.
So what do we think of The Way They See It by ARTistic Pursuits?
I personally love this program so much! For the longest time, I was trying to cut FOR Joshua, or color FOR Joshua because he was struggling so much with how to hold the scissors, how to actually make an accurate cut, and how to draw accurately. But the Grown-Up Talk sections in The Way They See It really helped me to slow down and let him do things for himself, and to encourage him in how well he was doing. It made me realize that it would ultimately be better in the long run for me to SHOW him, to actually do the art WITH him, modeling the correct way. I definitely recommend this program. It is a thorough course that helps artsy and non-artsy moms to understand how preschoolers learn, see, and do.