The President’s Bur Oak has sparked serious emotions for the “Bunny” class in our Preschool Lab; after visiting monthly for the past two years, the tree has come ill and needs to be taken down. This passionate group of four year olds has been working to honor the tree any way they can.
Teacher Kristen Krystofiak asked the children to draw what they loved most about the Bur Oak. This online flipbook shows the drawings. Although sometimes a bit unique, each child admires the tree for something different.
Assistant Professor and Directory of “The Image Lab” through the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery Lynda Barry and her grad student Heather Rosenfeld came to visit the Bunny Class to help them illustrate the story of the Bur Oak tree. Barry designed a class called “DrawBridge” to pair graduate and PhD students with preschool students to use “drawing, writing, and story-telling to practice the art of wondering together.” She is interested in getting insights from curious minds through creativity. As part of her experimental arts-based project Lynda Barry asked the children if she [Bur Oak] could talk, what would she say? A common response from the class was that Bur Oak talked through her leaves; when they rustle and move, they are trying to communicate.
The visit from Barry spurred a desire to tell the story of the life of Bur Oak. The class learned that quilts are often used to tell a story; so of course they wanted to make a paper quilt to depict the life of Bur Oak. Each child showed what they thought Bur Oak would look like at different periods of her life.
The Bunny class learned more about this Presidential Oak while using their creativity to remember her and her contribution to the Madison community.
Check back for the next blog: “A Song and Dance for the Tree”