Implementation of “Nature in Spring” (SOI-ES-513)


“All children are born artists. The problem is how to remain an artist when they grow up” Pablo Picasso.
I believe that as teachers it is our duty to transmit to the younger generations our confidence in their potential, providing and putting within their reach the necessary tools that allow them to access and develop it.
This implementation is carried out in an infant and primary school located in a semi-urban environment in a municipality in Galicia, Spain, with a group of 12 children aged 3 years old. Although it is the third term of the school year, we have to take into account that it is the first year that these children are in school, that everything is new to them and that it is very difficult for them to do certain activities.
I used the learning scenario “Nature un spring” to work on the arrival of spring and the changes that occur in our environment through art. In early childhood education, we always start from the immediate environment, the one closest to the children, to gradually abstract and work on what is further away. That is why all the proposals we have worked on have been compared with what we already know or with the environment around us.

As my students are very young, I had to modify the learning scenario and adapt it to their age and context. So, unlike “Nature in spring”, I did not focus on any particular flower and although we did talk about caring for nature, I left out the part where we worked on cultural heritage and everything that involved using writing. As we have not yet worked on art in school, we will take advantage of this implementation to introduce them to the artistic world. The main objective I seek is that learning is motivating, encouraging the interest of the little ones to work on creativity from innovation by presenting different types of materials and proposals, I also consider that everything that is learned with emotion is a learning that is not forgotten, so I will try to surprise my students and get them involved as much as possible.
To do so, I used a functional, active and participative methodology, promoting the construction of significant learning, where the grouping varied from one activity to another, so at some moments the work was individual and at others it was in a large group.

First session (approx. 75 min)

Presentation of the tables in assembly:

Study of Blooming Trees in a Orchard” and Apple Tree in Blossom” .

The paintings appear in the assembly and we have a philosophy session for children, asking them questions without judging, intervening or guiding their answers: What is this? what is drawn? who would do it? why? is it day or night? how would the person who did them feel when they painted them? what colours did they use? what do you think these artists want to teach us? what will it smell like inside these pictures? are there differences between them? which ones? what names can we call them? We titled the paintings “Tree” and “Tree with flowers” respectively. Do you want to become an artist and make paintings like these?

Given the positive response from the students, we got down to work. We have analysed the pictures carefully, looking at what each one has, the colours that appear and how they look. They have to follow the following instructions: the trunk of the tree has to appear and it has to be seen that it is a tree that is in flower.

At the same time as we create our compositions we listen to Voci di Primavera by Johann Strauss. At the end, we talked about what we thought of the music, whether it was happy or sad, whether we liked it and whether or not it reminded us of spring.

Second session (40 min aprox)

Presentation of the photographs at the assembly: Viola canina” and Chamamelum nobile”

As we did the day before, we analysed the works individually and compared them with each other.
What do you see here? Who did it? How did they do it? Is it painted like yesterday’s works? Why would they do this? Does it look like a work of art? Do you know how to make works like this? What do we need? Do you think we can photograph spring? How?

We go out to the playground with the school ipads and start photographing signs of spring, they focus mainly on flowers. Bearing in mind that almost all of them are 3 years old and that many of them are taking photos for the first time, we had to discard a lot of them because they came out blurry or because they were taking pictures of their feet, clothes, etc. We did a viewing of many of them commenting on why they may be blurred and whether all the photos are good or not. At the end of the session they are very capable of distinguishing which photos are good and which ones should be discarded. Even so, there are several photos that we downloaded and printed.

After taking the photographs we took some flowers to press so that we could make a FLOWER PANEL the next day. We make our FLOWER PANELS. The teacher gives us some frames made with cardboard, we decorate them, we put lining paper on them and we make our own spring composition.

Third and Fourth session (120 min aprox in 2 sessions)

Presentation in assembly of the pictures Woman with a Parasol in a Garden” and In the Park”.

We do another philosophy session for children repeating the questions we asked in the first session, we look a lot at the colours and imagine what we would do if we were inside those pictures. We titled these pictures “Flowers” and “Forest” respectively. We like the first painting so much that we decided to make our own painting. This time we will do it collectively and our brushes will be the elements of nature: leaves and flowers. This composition takes us two sessions, in the first one we will paint the green.
The second session begins with a challenge, as the library mascot (an owl that sometimes plays jokes on us) has taken the letters of the word SPRING and has hidden them around the classroom, our first mission today is to look for them and form the word correctly. Once we have finished this approach to reading and writing, we go back to yesterday’s pictures and decide together what colours our flowers should be and then we get down to work using the flowers as paintbrushes. While we make our composition we listen to “Canto di primavera” by Felix Mendelssohn. At the end we talked about the music and whether or not we like painting with music (everyone agreed that it is better to paint with music than without it).

At the end we gathered in an assembly and talked about the experience of painting with flowers and whether they liked the way the composition turned out. We looked for a title for our work and decided to call it “Field of flowers”.

Fifth session

(The time is variable because each student needs individual supervision and depends on the force they exert with the hammer).

Today we present another artistic expression different from painting and photography.

We talked about what this work suggests to us. The idea is to show Spring in different expressions of art. For today I asked them to bring wild flowers of different colours to bring us closer to another way of expressing art. Through this work of art we will be introduced to the world of botanical printing or ecoprint. We will do it with watercolour paper. As the children had to use a hammer this technique will be done individually while the rest are doing other tasks.

Sixth session (approx. 40 min)

In this session we will be working on sculpture based on the work Spring

We talk about whether they know what it is and they immediately relate it to statues they have seen in the street, we talk about what it represents, how it will be made, the material and whether they like it or not. The proposal for today is to make our own spring sculpture, we will make a flower (free style) and the material we will use will be plasticine. We will use a piece of egg carton as a pot for the flower, taking the opportunity to talk about the importance of recycling and reusing materials.

Seventh session (approx. 120 min)

The last work we presented is a painting again, but this time we worked on the self-portrait. For this I showed them the painting Primavera State by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Once we have analysed, talked about the characteristics of the picture, what they see, whether they like it or not and whether it represents spring, we proceed to make our own “Spring Portraits”. We start with a photograph of them in profile and decorate it with flowers (this time the flowers are painted by them).

With all these works we have made an “art gallery”.


Analysing the implementation of this project on art in Spring I have to say that the results are very positive as it has encouraged oral expression, active listening, dialogue, respect for the turn to speak, a taste for art, observation and respect for nature, self-concept and self-esteem, being able to make a work of art worthy of exhibition and that people admired, we worked on fine motor skills, creativity, artistic expression… and all this in a playful and fun way. Every day the children came to class asking what work of art we were going to see today and what “artistada” we were going to do.

Introducing the learning scenario was a break with the methodology we had been using until now and a breath of fresh air in the life of the classroom. At the end of each day we reminded them of what we had learned and what we had done, and they always responded with the enthusiasm that is characteristic of early childhood.

Until now I had always worked on the works of art in the classroom in an individualised way, that is, introducing them one at a time and not introducing the second one until the first one was finished. One thing I really liked about this project, by introducing several works together and mentioning the ones we already knew, is that the children themselves realised that in art there are many ways of expressing oneself and there is no single correct one, which made them look not only at their own works, but also at those of their classmates and give them value. This helped the group to grow as a group, I have noticed that after doing this learning scenario the group is more united.

Bringing art into a children’s classroom is a guaranteed success because they are free of prejudice and if they notice that you are enthusiastic about the proposal and present it with emotion, they welcome it with the same emotion. In a world increasingly exposed to screens, it is important to reflect on this quote from Catherine L’Ecuyer in her book Educating in Amazement. “Overstimulation replaces wonder and prevents children from perceiving the beauty of their surroundings. That is why it is so important for children to have spaces of silence to be able to reflect, appreciate and savour the beauty of what surrounds them. And aesthetic experiences to be able to develop the sensitivity of Beauty, through music, kindness, nature, for example”. I believe that with this proposal I have achieved a true aesthetic experience and that it is the beginning of a life linked to art and beauty.

I was not familiar with Europeana resources and I think it is a very useful source of information and resources. The fact that we can start from a learning scenario is a help for all of us teachers who create our own material and work through learning projects without textbooks. The fact that the resources have an open license and can be used freely is an incentive to always have at hand this great library of resources that is Europeana.

Link to some photos and video summarising the project

Link to the Learning Scenario Implemented: Nature in spring

Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

PDM 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Rijksmuseum.

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