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Drawing as Thinking with Young Children

with Debi Keyte-Hartland

International consultant and arts educator based in the United Kingdom


Online Live Session:

Saturday, February 8, 2020

10:00-11:30 a.m. EST

We are very excited to have Debi Keyte-Hartland join us at Early Learning Café to engage us in conversation about the ideas of Loris Malaguzzi who says there is “great responsibility of adults to read and interpret visual communications.”

Children’s “mark-making” is more than a precursor to writing and literacy. It is a language of communication in its own right. Drawing, re-drawing, thinking and rethinking are aspects of communication we will be exploring with Debi in this Café.

  • How do we see drawing as an attribute of children’s capacity for critical thinking; not merely the ideas of representation?
  • How are drawings a part of a relational exchange in a child’s attempt to understand the world?
  • How can drawing be pleasurable if we feel we can’t draw?

These questions will be part of our conversation as we think more deeply about observing and interpreting children’s visual communications.

 “Communication also happens through creative expression. When children manipulate materials, explore music and movement, create symbols (e.g., mark-making), and engage in imaginative expression (e.g., visual art) and dramatic play, they are communicating. Creating and designing fuse together the cognitive, emotional, and physical domains – thinking, feeling, and doing.” (How Does Learning Happen?)

This Online Conversation supports:

  • The Kindergarten Programme 2016 : Pedagogical Approach of Learning through exploration, play and inquiry
  • CECE Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice July 2017: Standard 2 – Curriculum and Pedagogy

About Debi Keyte-Hartland:

Debi is deeply passionate and knowledgeable about the relationship of teaching to the environment and to the educators’ image of the child. Her particular interest lies in how materials can be understood and used to generate critical and creative thinking and expression.  Children’s drawing, their methods of communication and ways of making and expressing meaning have been her constant love since researching these areas for her master’s degree.

Debi works with early childhood educators, senior leadership teams, schools and centres to develop creative and reflective approaches to inquiry-based learning. She speaks, writes, presents, and supports educators to reflect critically and engage practically about their work alongside children and families.

Debi has been in involved in transnational European research focused on creative and expressive uses of digital media in early childhood education contexts in the United Kingdom and Sweden. She is currently researching the transdisciplinary nature of young children’s learning.

Debi is an associate lecturer for the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) where she has co-developed a Master’s module on “Creativity and the Arts in Early Childhood Education”, She is Co-director of Sightlines-Initiative (a recognized Reggio Children organisation in the United Kingdom), accredited by Birmingham City University.

Debi Keyte-Hartland’s website can be found at:

What should you expect?

  • A 1.5 hour live online conversation with Debi that includes both large and small-group discussions
  • Opportunity for reflections and Café feedback
  • Certificate of completion
  • Ongoing access to this café’s supplementary materials

What do I need in order to participate?

This program includes a live, participatory online conversation among all the participants. Therefore, in order to participate, you will need the access to:

  • an internet device: a computer (laptop or desktop) or tablet (iPad or Android tablet)
  • your device must include a camera and microphone
  • a high-speed internet connection (at least 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds)
  • We highly recommend that you complete the free ELC Cafe called “The Early Learning Café Meeting Space” Completing this café will ensure that you have the required hardware and application (RingCentral Meetings) for your computer, that they are working properly, and you are able to access our online meeting space.