I have visited Viertolan Koulu to create What Am I? books with two first-grade classes. The main idea was to talk about what our food can tell about us and our environment. During the lively discussion with no right or wrong answers, we thought about what food is accessible to us directly – from the apple tree in our neighbours’ garden, to the carrots our grannies grow in their cottages in Northern Finland. We listed examples of food that comes from here, and discussed whether the lemon growing in a pot on the windowsill can be considered local food.
In order to prepare the art materials for the book, the kids had been asked to bring their own cardboard from home. Looking at the items they brought, we all laughed to see it was mostly cereal boxes – the food that found its way into our diet within just the last decade or two.
I felt it was more exciting to ask questions to discuss the subject of an artwork, and explain the technique very carefully, rather than only give a solid description of what the final piece should look like. At the end, we made an array of beautiful accordion books, asking our friends to guess our favourite dishes such as macaroni bake, bananas, pizza and chocolate.
The 1A artists at Viertolan Koulu in Vantaa, Finland are making and sharing art with the artists at Кепа школу (Kepa School) in Karelia, Russia. The 1B artists at Viertolan Koulu in Vantaa, Finland are making and sharing art with the artists at Sheppard Public School in Ontario, Canada.