Thursday, 15 August 2013

taking lead from the children

On Monday we returned with the children to what we have affectionally called the "Snail Park" an area of green between the preschool and the underground station that we have watched change over the year... and of course it had changed once again... the high jungle like paths were gone as the heavy rain of recent had flattened the plants... some flowers had gone to seed and yet new flowers had started to bloom...

I like coming to theis small patch of green, I like to see together with the children all the changes... but I also like to see how the children play here... there are no toys, no climbing frames nothing traditionally "children's play area" but they ALWAYS find so much to do... AND it also brings the children together - because instead of interacting with play equipment they need to interact with each other...

One of the play scenarios included four girls playing mamma, pappa, big sister and little sister at the same time as creating some artwork with an old flier they found on the ground and bits of nature... they went back and fourth dipping the paper in the birdbath, dipping plants and leaves in the bird bath in the role of the character they had all become as part of the play... I could stand a little distance away, able to listen to what they were saying and at the same time far enough away not to disturb their play-flow.
gathered around the artwork - big sister was off collecting more things...

the art work with petal bits, grass and the paper ripped and also in balls similar to a papier-maché consistency.
 So we thought that we would give them an opportunity to continue their artwork in the same spot, using the paints which they had also shown a great interest indoors... and also to allow the others who had not participated in the art role play on Monday a chance to get arty outside...

wasn't so easy at first working out a system to wet their brushes in the birdbath to make the art - they all wanted to start at the same time... but once they got going there was a natural flow...as the ground was quite uneven here it was a decent challenge on the gross motor skills too!

some of the children knew exactly which colours they were going to use... others were not too fussy... for some it was just too tricky to deal with the fact that the colour wanted was not in the exact spot wanted and tears followed and a variety of options were made by teachers and children, but the experience could not be repaired and the child went on to do other things instead...

some colours were on the ground, others on the bench, so this was an art session that involved a lot of moving and social interaction. A few frowns but it felt good to see the children work out how to create together

some children knew exactly what they were painting when we were outside... the rest had the chance to present their artwork to the rest the group at our pre-lunch meeting... the children appreciated this time to tell their friends about their art.

"look I have drawn my letter"

when most of the children had created enough there was more room for experimentation - for example dipping your paper in the birdbath to get it wet before painting with the water colours...

and holding the paper up to see how the paint moved on the paper... this piece got named, sun cloud and rain (which was exactly like the weather we have had all week)
After the session I cleaned the bench and washed the paint out of the birdbath too - we need to respect our snail park and take care of it so that others can enjoy it as much as us... The children spent the rest of moring enjoying running down the slight inclinations and up again, using the metal railings as a climbing/balancing frame and talking with the poeple that visit the area to feed birds etc...

The paintings are waiting for another step - a black permanent marker to add some details... before they get put up on the walls...

4 comments:

  1. Sometimes it's great to let children take their lead and develop their imagination and social interaction. Looks like lots of fun too

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    Replies
    1. I am s strong believer in following the children's lead... this can mean letting them show us the way, but also inspire us to what activities we can provide to support and challenge their learning

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  2. Looks like great fun & a lovely spot to spend time in, thanks for your support of the OPP & the share on FB.

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