In preschool art classes, students are taught about the use of color in the world and their teachers help them develop an understanding of using color in many forms. Children are given the opportunity to explore and experiment with color using a variety of materials, including paper, markers, pastels, crayons and paint.
Primary and Secondary Colors
One objective for preschool students is that they will learn how to identify basic colors. Preschoolers should also understand that when primary colors are blended, secondary colors -- such as green or purple -- are created. Teachers may demonstrate this phenomenon by showing children two glasses of colored water. One glass could be colored with red food coloring, and the other with yellow food coloring. When mixed together, students would see that the two colors create the color orange. There are also numerous picture books commonly read in preschool that help reinforce concepts related to colors, such as Eric Carle's "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"
Shades of Color
The Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards require preschool students to experiment with creating different shades of color by adding white or black to other colors (Reference 1). For example, children may mix red paint with white paint and observe that the color pink is created. Through such activities, students will discover that adding more or less black or white to a color results in a darker or lighter shade. The children's book, "The Color Kittens," by Margaret Wise Brown, reinforces the concept of mixing colors and is another good resource for preschool teachers.
Experiments with Colors
Preschool students should be allowed to experiment with color using many different media. According to the preschool learning standards for the Massachusetts Department of Education, children should be able to use colors in a variety of forms -- including colored paper, crayons, pastels, paint and watercolors (Reference 2). Art lessons can also incorporate colored tissue paper, clay, colored cellophane and other materials, therefore offering students a wide variety of learning experiences. Teachers may encourage their students to experiment with finger-painting or drawing with sidewalk chalk to reinforce the concept of colors.
According to the Early Learning Standards for North Carolina Preschoolers and Strategies for Guiding Their Success, students of this age should also be taught how to sort and classify various objects by color (Reference 3). For example, children may sort blocks or other toys by color. Teachers may lead students in other color classification activities, such as identifying all students wearing a blue shirt or making a list of foods that are red.
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