Invitations to create from Mother Goose Time have led many people to wonder about it's benefits. The benefits of the invitations to create are many. But I will talk about how they encourage children to speak to each other.
The picture is hung up in the art area so that they can inspire the child. It helps them to understand what we are talking about. This picture is from the Garden Plant invitation to create. The picture inspired conversations at the art area about what types of plants they wanted to grow, who was growing plants at home and the preschool garden. It helped the children focus on the project at hand. It also inspired the children to talk about how the landscape was different We live in the desert and many of the pictures of farm areas do not look like what we are use to seeing. They are applying what they are learning and seeing to the outside world. They are using the vocabulary they have learned to describe the pictures.
In order to foster creativity, Mother Goose Time provides the teachers with a card that shows an example of set of the center and prompts to help the children think about how they want to design their project. I encourage early childhood educators to use these questions as more of a jumping off point than anything. The questions you ask should be geared toward the children in your program. For myself, the children do not like when I speak with them while they are doing their projects. They become deeply annoyed with me! So at the end of circle time, I introduce the center time activities. We begin to speaking about what is in the picture, the colors and what the picture makes them feel. When we get to the center we talk about how the materials match the picture and what they may want to do with them. After that I leave them to the making of the art.
During this time they speak to their partner about what they are doing. This leads them to using the vocabulary and expanding what they already know. It also helps them to inspire and encourage their partner. For some children it can become competitive, but this is normal. Around this age they want to be better at doing things than others and they want others to acknowledge how good they are. Really there is no way to stop this from happening. When they ask me I tell them I love everybody's art work....and they look at me like I am lying and whisper
"Well, mines is better."
When this happens, don't argue. Just nod and smile. Maybe you can escape without tears and a fight developing :)