Yesterday I went on a field trip with Sarah who is 4 and in Junior Kindergarten. I have to reiterate those facts because the field trip was to our local art museum. To be honest, I didn’t even know this museum existed! And for those of you familiar with art museum’s, one would wonder why a kindergarten class is going there… especially a small town art museum that you can imagine isn’t all that big.
Well you see, they offer this little tour that is about Colour and Emotion. Sarah’s teacher seemed excited about it and since it did sound kinda cool I was game to go. But I started to get worried when the guide that we were assigned was slightly elderly and did NOT seem able to express much emotion of any kind. In fact, the only thing he seemed interested in was keeping these 4 and 5-year-olds far far away from the art. He had a pretty museum ribbon (more colourful and interesting then some of the museum contents – but you didn’t hear that from me) and encouraged the children to look at the paintings from behind this ribbon. So here you have children who just want to touch, feel and live art, staring at unfathomable art pieces from about 5 feet away. It was all very surreal, and at times about the opposite of exciting.
Thankfully though, our ancient tour guide didn’t feel it necessary to stop in front of the two paintings of unclothed people thus saving us the pleasure of explaining things only parents should explain to kindergartners. Although I heard that other groups were introduced to the paintings and at one viewing our little neighbor girl from around the corner asked out-loud, “Did they have to take off all their clothes?” Did they Alleyah? Did they?
But then finally we were led to a big studio room where the kids got a little lesson on warm and cold colours and got to do two paintings each, one with ‘warm’ colours and one with ‘cold’ and that vindicated the entire trip. They could finally touch and do!!!! And they really enjoyed it, except for one little 4-year-old who broke down on me because she couldn’t draw a tree. She was so very tired, the museum had probably been over-whelming and she just wanted a tree for goodness sake!
But before long we were on the bus heading back to school and I was sitting with Sarah and a little boy from her class, I think he was in JK too. And so half-way home I look down and realized that the little boy had fallen asleep against me… tired little guy. He was almost falling off the seat so I got him settled so he wouldn’t fall off and the teacher sitting in the seat across from me and I just smiled. It’s not the first time this has happened to me, last time I went on a field trip with kindergartners I had a little girl fall asleep against me then too…. so it warms the cockles of my heart that these little people perhaps feel I’m a safe place that they can safely snooze against. Or maybe it’s just that when you are 4, modern art is very very tiring.