My daughter was joined by her cousins the other evening. I was informed I was to paint her nails with her nail varnish. She informed me how she wanted them, she had 12 colours, and wanted her nails done in each, a different colour. Her female cousin, who is much the same age as her, joined her and wanted her nails done in one colour, a pale blue and all the same. Leaning on one of her colouring books, I subsequently started colouring the same book, with the nail varnish, two heads peaked over and proceeded to join me, colouring the paw patrol book. Her elder male cousin, looked over, “you can’t do that, that’s not what they’re for”. My daughter informed him, she can. As he watched on, he informed my daughter “colour inside the lines”, she declared “I don’t have to”, her female cousin informed her, she wanted to colour inside the lines, but was colouring in patches. It wasn’t long, before the male cousin joined them, but moved up in the colouring book world, to be promoted to an A3 peppa pig book.
So why am I telling you this story, horrified at the mention of colouring books (templates are not allowed in early years), I’m telling you this story, because Aistear is all about giving children choice, giving them the materials to choose and choosing how they use them. Aistear is about allowing our children be creative and not about colouring pictures in with grass green, skys blue, it’s allowing children to think outside the box. It’s about letting children having a voice and a say and if they wish to do something, they can. Who wants a conveyor belt of children creating the same art, the famous artists through history, didn’t do what was done before and if they did, they perfected it and put their own stamp on it. So let children be, let children become the Picassos of this world, they are meant to be and most of all enjoy the process of doing so.