ST. PETE, Fla. — This month schools across Pinellas County are focusing on the relationships between teachers and students. The Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County has started a new campaign that really shows what it means to see life through the eyes of a child.
It’s called Crayons For Kids Brains. The mission is to encourage creativity among children from birth to five years old by drawing their favorite teacher.
“I see my bun, I see my glasses and my nose, and my rainbow hair, I think I’ll have to have my rainbow hair tomorrow,” said Karen Howard, a teacher at Starling School.
Howard was one of hundreds of teachers across the county to have their images captured with crayons, on paper, by children this month.
The Early Learning Coalition said such a simple yet creative hands-on project can make a huge difference in a child’s development.
“Drawing their favorite teacher is a perfect example of those meaningful relationships they have, for many young children those teachers are the first people outside of their family that they really bond with and those relationships are so important,” said Lindsay Carson, with the Early Learning Coalition.
It’s not as much about the artwork itself, as it is about the process behind it.
“They were discussing their pictures, they were talking with their friends, they were learning how to communicate and convey what it was they were thinking which is such an incredible skill both on paper and in life,” said Carson.
While for the teachers, it can be just as impactful, even if their eyes, ears and mouth are disproportionate.
“It’s interesting as adults, we don’t always think about how the children are perceiving us and when they draw it out you can see like, ‘wow, this is how they see me, this is the part that they recognize,’” said Carson.
“She has my glasses on, she has my nostrils, and you see I’m holding a baby, I don’t know where a baby came from, but she wanted to give me a baby,” said teacher Janice Starling as she looked at a picture drawn of her.
Later this month all participating children are being asked to submit their work for a chance to win a pizza party for the whole school.
“It’s a great opportunity for children to really celebrate their own art work because they get to pick their favorite one, they get to own it, they get to really celebrate it,” said Carson.
For more information, go to elcpinellas.org.