‘Why is it a Dot Day today?’ asked one of the EY learners when greeted ‘Happy International Dot Day’ on the morning of Tuesday 15th September during our Google Meet. Many of you may be wondering, like our learners, why all the fuss over ‘The Dot’. So here is a story behind the celebration and MIS Early Years dot exploration.
It all began with a story called ‘The Dot’ written by Peter. H. Reynolds. The story is about a girl called Vashti. With a little encouragement, from her teacher, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you’’ Vashti overcomes her fear and passes on this magic to a little boy who is equally afraid of drawing. The story is about risk-taking, empathy, open-mindedness, innovation and the celebration of creativity. Just like Vashti’s teacher, the author himself was encouraged by a teacher in Iowa to start something to reach out to children globally and celebrate creativity. Hence, he decided to start the event International Dot Day on September 15th, the day the book was published, 17 years ago.
Like many educators (and parents) around the world, Team Early Years were excited to make this event possible for our learners. After a quick discussion, the preparation was underway to launch the event.
The EY learners began the celebration by listening to the story ‘The Dot’. Individuality, creative and critical thinking were encouraged by allowing learners to choose how, when, what and where they wished to explore their ideas of a dot. The purpose was to experiment, innovate and play around with ideas using materials easily available at home. So, the exploration began with a question, “How will you create the dot?”
Many EY1 learners sustained their dot play throughout the week. Their journey from wondering about ‘What is a dot?’ to describing ‘Bubbles are flying dots’ made the week-long exploration worthwhile. The collaboration that happened virtually through sharing of videos and photographs of dots and dialogues about dots, have certainly helped us rediscover, reflect and have a stronger belief in the power of playful learning with our youngest bunch in EY1.
EY2 learners took their dot exploration further by exploring maths concepts including patterns. They created patterns with their toys, household objects and with materials from nature. One of the parents joined in the celebration and made rangoli with colour pencils and crayons. Rangoli is an art form made with colourful powder and fresh flowers as part of many host country celebrations, such as, Dussehra and Diwali. What a wonderful way to make connections and celebrate creativity and diversity!
Whereas, EY3 learners extended their exploration and looked at the dot through a different lens. They travelled all the way to Australia and made an authentic connection to their current unit ‘How we express ourselves’ through dots. They tried their hand at Aboriginal Art where dots are used to create art and tell stories. EY3 learners are planning on venturing further with their Dot exploration with Gond Art next week, one of the traditional Art forms in India.
It has been truly amazing to witness how the young learners engage with a prompt and expand upon it. Just like the expansion of Vashti’s simple dot into a work of art, a proposal to celebrate International Dot Day, evolved into an extraordinary exploration demonstrating learner agency, creativity, and a true celebration of diversity of the host country and other cultures.
A huge ‘Thank you!’ to EY parents for sharing the photographs and videos of the Dot exploration. We are truly grateful to have received so many incredible creations. Although, we could only add three of these art pieces to the EY blog we are now able to share most of the creations and the EY learners’ stories, ideas and thoughts via a link. Please click here to access the slides. You need to use your child’s misp email account to access the link. Thank you and enjoy!
Team MIS EY