​​​​​Evergreen Outdoor Education 

Leave a comment

A collection of anything will do.

Transient Art

By Jools Logan Evergreen Outdoor Education

9th July 2016


Now there's an ambiguous term, or is it?

From time to time I would hear this term and an insistence that 'children should be exposed to transient art if they are to understand art'.  What on earth are we talking about, what is transient art?

Official definition: Art is often considered the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations and ways of expression, including music, literature, film, sculpture and paintings. (Google 2016) 

Oh come on, we are dealing with 4 year old titchy humans. I practically dismissed the term until one day I heard it explained in a way that just made sense, it's art without glue. Ok, I can do that I can get behind that, I can support that. It's arranging stuff in ways which might be expressing what's on the inside of a person.

Intrigued I was, I wanted to know what value this style of art could have on little people, so I gathered some very beautiful 'things' and put them in cute little baskets in the garden and was pleasantly surprised at how much attention they received.  A little coaxing was needed with one or two initially, but we are used to that in early years, we know the little people have their own agenda!

Given there is no wrong way to do this, confidence grew quite quickly in the transient artists. All that fiddling and movement was fabulous for working those fine motor skills. I was almost certain I could see the imagination cogs turning especially when Lucy made a face from shells and said it looked like the boy in her seaside dreams!

The story telling opportunities were priceless and the dialogue was simply gorgeous.  The looking, choosing, smelling and touching enchanted little people's senses.  I realised with a raised sense of joy that the children were not just making art they were on an epic journey unique to them, bit like a hobbit running through the glades of middle earth (before the battle). You know there was so much scope for mathematical and scientific concepts too especially positional language, counting and material description.

Out of all the wonderful patterns, faces, fish and tigers in the jungle, the greatest outcome by my simple standards was watching a child so absorbed in their own creation that they were giddy with excitement. I did hang around with a camera and asked them if they would like to record their work, some did, some ran off and built castles out of crates and planks and some said, 'I will do it tomorrow'.  Don't you just LOVE early years.

This underrated and perhaps misunderstood little activity is a bit of  a goldmine of educational opportunity, it serves the child and allows the adult to either interact or observe.  Either option will provide some of that all important evidence of a child's learning.

Have a go. All you need is lots of things, let's face it every setting has loads of things. Things could include, acorns, agates, beads, beans, clippings or chippings, feathers, fir cones, grasses, leaves, paper clips, wool, stones, sand, pods, matchsticks, straws, etc. the list really is endless…
​​