Easel Painting

For all you parents who take home bunches and bunches of rolled up easel paintings… For those who adore them… For those who wonder what to do with a giant sheet of paper with random blue lines on it…

Rest assured, Easel Painting is not presented as painting a picture and producing a picture is not the point of the lesson. This is a lesson that pulls together many of the skills from Practical Life work (think: pouring, folding, scrubbing). Painting is appealing to children and pulls them into practicing all of these wonderful practical life skills.

Young children are undeniably tactile learners, and paint is so appealing.

Easel Painting is an engaging and attractive gross motor activity. Children often start by making lines or swirls, some fill every inch of the paper. The big cross body movements that can be done while painting on a large easel engage both hemispheres of the brain.

Assistant Head of School, Robyn Milos shares, “for children it’s always about the process, not the product. After the painting is hung up to dry, the child often forgets about it, because that’s when they start the detailed work of cleaning up. The process of setting up the clean-up work, washing the easel, going on a hunt for all the drips of paint, and then pouring out, rinsing the bowl, cleaning the basin….”

She continues, “The bulk of the benefit for the child comes in the clean-up process. Some children clean the easel with the same motions used for scrubbing a table. Some do it as a science experiment, watching how the water dries on the easel and writing on the dry easel with a wet sponge. You often see the true concentration happening during clean-up.”

So, when your child’s guide hands you that bunch of easel paintings at the end of the year, smile and think of the work and concentration represented in these crunchy, sometimes difficult to unroll paintings.

Melinda, these pictures paint a picture themselves. Thank you! Robyn, thank you for sharing your insights and experience!