Inspiring a Friendship:
How Art Connected Two Young Children

By Kyleigh Pharris

Friendship is a treasure. Finding a friend with similar passions and interests is rare, and when you do find that person it can be magical.  

This is a heartwarming tale of friendship that all began one day during a gallery walk through the Elementary Art Show. The PreK 4 children were exploring the artwork on display at St. Luke’s Art Gallery when five-year-old Poon Poon discovered a work of art that spoke to him. Poon Poon is a child who has a strong passion for countries. What Poon Poon loves even more than countries are the flags that represent countries. He has a keen eye for noticing differences in flags and an even stronger ability to identify a long list of flags and their respective country’s geographical location in the world.

This excitement about flags was what delighted Poon Poon when he saw a collage of three flags constructed by a six-year-old Kindergarten child, Kavin. Kavin had used scraps of paper to create the flags of the United States, Japan, and North Korea. Poon Poon wondered aloud, “Who made this?” Reading Kavin’s name on the collage piece, Poon Poon’s teacher began to explain that Kavin used to be a PreK 4 friend, a student who also has a strong passion for countries and flags. As Poon Poon listened to his teacher’s words and stared at the work of art he suddenly asked, “Can I be his friend?”

Through their teachers, Poon Poon and Kavin were introduced. The two children began to talk, and instantly the boys were sharing knowledge and expertise about flags and countries and expanding each other’s understanding and thinking around the subject. This marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

While their teachers wanted to support the boys’ friendship, it proved to be tricky to coordinate times for the KG and PreK 4 classes to collaborate; the only common times for the classes to be together was during snack and lunch. After days of not having enough time to discuss their love of flags and countries, Poon Poon asked if he could draw Kavin a flag and mail it to him. Poon Poon and his teacher discussed options for how to mail his flag art to Kavin. After a lengthy conversation, they concluded that putting Poon Poon’s art in Kavin’s teacher’s mailbox would be a dependable way to ensure that Kavin would receive Poon Poon’s flags. This idea sparked an ongoing pen-pal relationship.

The boys quickly began corresponding with each other through their teacher’s mailboxes in the ES Office. Each day the PreK 4 and KG teachers would check their mailboxes and safely deliver the artwork and messages to the boys. This arrangement offered the perfect solution for the boys to continue to grow their friendship and learn more about each other through their artistic representations of flags.

Poon Poon writing his first letter to Kavin about flags. He drew the flags of Switzerland and Egypt and wrote “To: Kavin From: Poon Can you draw Poland and Germany flags?”
This is the first letter that Kavin wrote to Poon. He drew the flags of Poland and Germany. He wrote an additional message, “My favorite color is sky blue. What is yours?”
Poon Poon’s letter to Kavin was transcribed by his teacher. Later that day, Poon Poon sent his letter to Kavin’s teacher’s mailbox in the ES office.
Kavin’s letter in response to Poon Poon’s. This letter sparked Poon Poon’s curiosity  to learn more about the country of Cyprus.

Art is an extremely powerful tool for young children to express themselves. As children broaden their understanding of different art media forms, they are able to deepen their ability to creatively convey their thoughts and feelings. Artistic expression fosters communication, as well as creating interpersonal connections. It was through art that Kavin and Poon Poon were able to find each other, learn that there was another child in our school community who had a similar interest to his own, and be able to communicate and deepen their understanding of each other.

Art can inspire a friendship. Art can, ultimately, provide people with a deeper sense of belonging within their community.