Metaphorical Thinking in Children:
Seen through Projections
by Loty Arteaga and Alden Fletcher, in collaboration with the KMS PreSchool Students
In the ongoing study of the sky, Loty invited the children to observe projections of the sky in the Atelier. Video and projections are an effective language for the children’s research. The children were captivated with the images and created a special relationship with this new visual language, engaging in spontaneous dramatization.
“It’s snowing there!” Navya exclaimed, when looking at the clouds.
Navya started to “collect” the clouds in her hands and “ate” a handful. She explained, “I’m eating the sky.” Other children followed her imaginative invitation.
The sky transformed to a colorful sunset. “Fire! Fire in the sky,” Cecily exclaimed, pointing to the bright orange.
“Not fire,” reasoned Parker Simone. Then Kiran pointed to the clouds, saying, “Look at that smoke… Fire clouds.” Torben shook his head, saying, “No, it’s not fire, it’s only the sunset. It’s yellow and orange.”
So Loty asked the children, “What is the sunset?”
Oona offered her idea, “When the sun goes down and the moon comes up.”
Then Kiran made a beautiful compromise, combining the two descriptions, “It’s fire sunset!”
Later, the video showed a fire pit on the beach. The children noticed and exclaimed, “Fire!”
Lucas went up to the wall and touched it, removing his finger quickly as if burned.
The next day, Ethan observed, “The clouds are moving, the wind is pushing the clouds. Look! The sun is burning the water.”
This was another interesting perspective, related to Kiran’s idea the day before.
Loty noticed this and asked, “How can the sun do that?”
Ethan explained, “When the sun is almost down, it burns the water because the sun is hot.”
Through the language of projections, the children are able to observe variations of sky in a controlled environment. They see the colors, the clouds, the movement and the reflections more acutely. They are also inclined to collaborate with the projections in a way that surprises the teachers, interacting with the environment they see in metaphorical ways.