During the fall session of our mini co-op, we did picture studies of Pieter Bruegel the elder. This was something new we added to the co-op this year as we are trying to gear our co-op toward Charlotte Mason.
I feel that the picture study was good to have. We started each co-op meeting with opening exercises (prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, a song and announcements). The nursery was dismissed and we began our picture study.
Each child ages 4 and up was given a copy of the picture face down. When I gave the signal, everyone turned their picture over to study it in silence. No talking is allowed at this time. They get about 90 seconds to 2 minutes to carefully examine their picture. Then I asked them what they see in the picture. Hands shoot up as everyone is eager to share what they see. I will tell them what I know about the picture. For example, Pieter Bruegel painted a work entitled "Census at Bethlehem". Kids will see so many things going on in the picture, but when I tell them the picture depicts a Bible story, I can hear the ooo's and aahh's in the room.
When our discussion is over, I dismiss the 4 to 6 year olds to their class (only because this is a non-writing group) and I pass out a notebook page along with a smaller copy of the picture we are studying and ask the kids to write whatever they want about the picture. It can be a list of words or a paragraph or anything in between, but they must write something. When they ask, I (or another parent) helps with spelling.
Here are the 4 pictures we studied this fall.
Census at Bethlehem