As the year winds down, it is important that we remind our children and ourselves to consider the perspective of others and think outside of ourselves. Constantly glued to technology, our computers, phones and social media, trapped in our own world that focuses on the self, we often forget to take the time to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” In a political climate so divisive, with individuals so reactive and unwilling to hear the other side’s point of view, we ask you to try your best to gain personal perspective and help your children do the same.
In keeping with our mission of expanding our tool box of social and emotional skills, the focus for our recent art project was on perspective and point of view. For the past four weeks we worked with our students emphasizing how having a viewpoint informs the way we see things. Viewpoints also give us the ability to encompass other ideas and can allow us to empathize with others whose viewpoint and experiences may be different.
There are few cities that demonstrate the wonder of perspective like New York City does, with its long straight avenues that we all cross daily. Using a time honored artistic device to create an illusion of space and depth, each student painted a canvas representing our neighborhood vista near Columbus Ave at 74th Street.
Learning a new vocabulary, specific to their art project, the vanishing point, the horizon and converging lines, the kids brought their own understanding of perspective taking and point of view to this rich project. Uniquely imaginative as individual expressions, these canvases together made a stunning quilt-like array of city scapes—complete with whales, giant cats, the ubiquitous traffic, from rainbow sunsets to blizzards, with even the Eiffel Tower gracing the skyline!
Understanding our own viewpoint anchors us in place and enables us to tolerate and empathize with other perspectives thereby enriching us as a community and society.