By Rita Young

When my daughter was 2 years old, she said ‘I don’t like what I’m thinking’ when she saw my 100-year-old grandmother pop her false teeth out of her mouth. The idea that a two-year-old is aware of the activities of the mind had never before occurred to me.  Of course, I thought she was brilliant, but discoveries along the path of working with children make it clear that all children go through similar developmental stages. How we express and our perceptions may differ widely, but the stages are similar.

A preschooler learns and processes a huge volume of information. With the technology available, certain types of information are learned by toddlers and preschoolers at a faster rate.  If life is about racing to get the most the fastest, technology is the way to go.  There are some aspects of living that require a more thoughtful and creative approach.  The two are not mutually exclusive.  The creative process is a problem-solving process, but a solving process that engages intuition as well as the mind. The natural creative curiosity of toddlers waits for a trigger and the trigger differs from child to child.  A trigger can be as simple as getting a piece of lettuce that’s too big to eat in one bite or having to find a path through a playful obstacle course. Watching your preschooler work through these problems creatively is a joy.

Teaching art, even to the very young, is all about offering situations in which they can problem solve creatively. That’s my joy and passion.