Much of who the child is in first grade continues on in second grade, but now with more form and ability. The second grader is still very much connected with the world as a whole and sees herself as part of her natural surroundings and her loving community. Yet, at times there will be signs of something else in the midst. The child seems to be between two polarities. On the one side a deep connection still to the infallible spiritual world lives in her soul. She still sees the world as good and true and maintains a connection to her higher self. But, at times, she will begin to show her human folly as she may lash out at a friend, hide a truth, or play the trickster. Here she finds turmoil in the separation from the spiritual realm and the discovery of the lower human traits.
BRINGING THE GESTURE OF HUMAN TRAITS THAT LIVE IN THE STORIES TO THE SECOND GRADER
The second grade teacher brings a balance to these polarities in stories of saints and legends, exemplifying the higher human self, and in the animal fables, often depicting the lower human traits. Here the child is gently ushered into the transition from first to second grade. The fables also appeal to the second grader’s deep interest in the animal kingdom. Here the animals should be depicted in their true character. For instance, what makes a fox foxy? It is sly, quick-witted, cunning and proud. These elements should be brought into the picture. Whereas in fourth grade the animal is drawn much closer to its reality, in second grade it is important to bring out the character and quality of the animal. This is what the second grader will be able to relate most closely to.
I will never forget a particular evening when I was driving home with my daughters. A fox trotted across the road, and I said, “Oh look, a fox!” One of my daughters said, “Oh yes, you know Mr. Fox; he’s probably up to some kind of mischief.” This is a perfect example of the way the child of this age relates to the animal kingdom. In their eyes animals can do all the things we humans can do: play, eat, seek shelter, raise their young as well as talk and relate to one another!
The chalkboard drawings in second grade still invoke the human gesture within. Whether drawing humans or animals, it is the gesture that remains the vital element in the drawings.
In this simple drawing of Saint Francis, his gesture is one of reverence towards the birds he is speaking to. He is praising them for their beautiful voices and ability to fly. He is also reminding them to be thankful for these blessings. He has a heavenly light shining behind him that also lights up the trees that frame the picture. The students have the opportunity in this drawing to embellish it with as many birds as they would like as well as flowers, butterflies, etc.
In this chalkboard drawing of “The Fox and the Stork,” the fox is seen in an almost mocking gesture toward the stork who stands above the succulent dish of broth unable to share the meal with the cunning fox, yet maintaining composure and honor. The wispy aroma floating off the dish will appeal to the phlegmatic!