During my early years of teaching I met a teacher who had a real impact on me. I was in Ms Vaughn’s classroom for one of my first practicum experiences and she imposed on me the importance of displaying children’s art respectfully.
She felt it was important to let the children choose their favourite pieces, and then we would frame them with contrasting paper. The chosen pieces were thoughtfully displayed on the walls with no judgement. Sometimes a child would choose a piece that we didn’t think was their best, but Ms Vaughn always said it really didn’t matter what we thought as the child was the artist and it was therefore their choice. This was reflected in the sense of pride each and every child had about their work and the displays.
Choosing an area in your home to make a mini art gallery is the first step. Choose a wall and put up a cork board, noticeboard, or framed work board. It doesn’t have to be a large board, but it does have to be somewhere easily and regularly seen.
Framing the art doesn’t take a lot of work, but it does make a huge difference to how it looks. When your child has chosen a few of their favourite pictures you can back each piece with coloured construction paper to make a contrasting frame. Cut the coloured paper a couple of centimetres bigger than the art project to create a border of colour. Glue or tape the coloured paper to the back of the picture. The framed picture can then be attached to the board on the wall. You don’t have to fill the board with art, in fact creating space around each piece is important.
Every couple of months you can add to or change the display with a newer piece of art. The idea is to create a beautiful and thoughtful space rather than randomly sticking pieces of art onto your fridge with magnets.
What we do with our children’s art matters!