Our exploration of faces is drawing to a close, I think, but I wanted to share with you a couple more activities that we did on this theme (See what other "face" explorations we've done here and here).
Creating faces with loose parts found around the house was a big part of our exploration. With a focus that bordered on obsession, everything he touched was rearranged to create a face. Observing this repeated action led to some insight in how his mind was breaking down the parts of a face and then recreating them, both with loose parts and with pencil and paper.
Rather than making a face as you or I might with all parts in places that correspond with their location on an actual face, Silas would line up the elements horizontally or vertically, naming them as he went. I've noticed that he will do this with other representations as well. For example, he will take a square, a cylinder, and a triangle block and line them up right next to each other and tell me it's a house. When I ask him to tell me more, he'll tell me that the square is the house, the cylinder is the chimney, and the triangle is the roof. He hasn't arranged them in a way that creates a three dimensional model of a house, just as his faces are often not true representations of a face, but his confidence in this arrangement tells me that this is evidence of some sort of sense that he's making of the relationship of one part to another. The details aren't quite accurate yet, but he definitely is thinking of individual components and how they relate to one another.
I was delighted to come across this About Face game. It's a box of cards with photographs of loose parts printed on them that fit together so that the child can arrange and rearrange them to make faces. It's loose parts without all the loose parts, essentially.
We explored these in a couple different ways. If left to his own devices, he would arrange faces as I described above. With some direction ("What does this look like?" "Where might those eyes go?") he was able to create a more accurate representation of a face.
One of the roles of the educator in Reggio-inspired learning is to uncover misconceptions children have about their world and to help them gain greater understanding by "tossing" those ideas back to the child so they can be further investigated.
So, in this instance, I used my face as an example for Silas to look at while he was making his representations (I could have also introduced a mirror for him to look at his own face), pointing out the relationships between the parts and comparing them to the faces he was making. He liked this and thought it was funny, and while it did help him with his representations in the moment, he went back to his stacking method when I wasn't prompting him.
It's so fascinating to see his mind working; there's so much to figure out about our world, isn't there?
Silas is 2.5 years old.