Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Children are always making rainbows. They draw rainbows with pencils and markers, color them with crayons, and paint them on easels. As I've travelled the world, visiting preschools from Greece to China, from New Zealand to Iceland, I find rainbows adorning the walls and bulletin boards, happy arcs of color, often with a self-portrait of the artist, or even the artist's whole family, standing under them, smiling.

We've all seen them, and often, any of us who spend much time with kids. It's tempting to wonder why they do it, although it's entirely unnecessary to know. The fact that children everywhere make rainbows, I think, is enough.

And they don't just make them with "art" materials. Every day, someone will call out, "I've made a rainbow tower!" or explain "This is a rainbow in a box."

In nature, rainbows are somewhat rare, only appearing when the conditions are just right, only lasting for a short time, and only visible from certain angles, but at preschool they are everywhere, in everything, making our world brighter.

Sometimes when children talk of rainbows, they are referring to the classic shape, but more often than not they are talking of all those colors, side by side, beautifully, joyfully, a concept that is incomplete with even one of them missing.

We spend most of our time working on projects together and sometimes we need to decide upon a color. Our process always starts with someone proposing their favorite which is followed by another color and another. We list them all, usually intending to then vote for which one it will be, but invariably when it comes time to select just one, the children always opt for rainbow, the consensus choice, the one that includes us all.

It's tempting to wonder why they do it, why children surround themselves with rainbows, but do we really need to wonder? I think we already know why.

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