• Tara O'Brien

Early Years Art Provocation: "Not a Box"


In the early years of education, art is interwoven into so many aspects of school life. In the Primary Years Program (PYP), young learners aged 3-5 are provided opportunities to create and respond to a variety of art forms, learning how to plan creative projects, express themselves, and appreciate different perspectives. "Not a Box" is one of my favorite art provocations in the Early Years. Boxes are a bit magical to young children and they relish the opportunity to plan and create using boxes of all shapes and sizes!


Just in case you haven`t read the story, click the book to see a two minute read aloud preformed by Storytime Now on YouTube.


When planning this provocation with students I consider the PYP scope and sequence for 3-5 year old children as well as which ATLs we can develop. Thinking Skills and Communication Skills fit in naturally to this provocation. I consider how I can go about explicitly and implicitly teaching the outcomes and ATLs.


Then the fun begins! In the past I began by reading the story to the class during circle time and asking everyone to share what they would make with their box. Then we discussed plans together, taking turns speaking and listening (developing communication and thinking skills and working towards using art to express ourselves-outcome). Then we took out our markers and paper and drew out our plans. I circulated around the classroom, asking children about their plans and interactive writing on a separate paper. When everyone finished their designs, I asked children to meet with their "elbow buddy" to share. Before sharing time we had a quick chat about how to be caring when giving feedback (working towards another outcome..."begin to discuss their artwork and the artwork of others)! After our plans were complete, all of the children transitioned outside. Boxes of all shapes and sizes were laid out in the garden with paint, brushes, tape, etc. We spent the whole afternoon creating, sharing, planning, and reflecting.


This simple provocation is meant to inspire discussion and creativity in the arts. Its been an engaging and exciting provocation every time! Ive posted some photos below of my daughter creating and playing with her own "not a box!"



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