Saturday, 21 September 2013

Celebrating International Fairy Tea Party

After six weeks of philosophising about fairies and basing activities on the children's ideas the day for celebrating children's play and imagination came...
We celebrated International Fairy Tea Party together with other children around the world... and it has been fabulous to look at all the photos from around the world of the other celebrations on the facebook fairy tea party page.
the map of all the parties that have been acknowledged to happen around the world - although I would like to point out that Queensland should be on here too, but the marker went off on an adventure with a toddler... I hope to print out some of the photos from the fairy tea parties and put  them on this map so that the children can REALLY see that we were not the only ones celebrating a fairy tea party!

Over the years I have always seen an interest in fairies and princesses - so I knew there would be an interest in fairies. My colleague was more sceptical - and a non-believer - but is now admiring the wonders of fairies. We have learned so much in the last six weeks - not only about twhat the children think fairies are, but also about the children and our own relationship with the children and the project.
Fairies have let us explore magic, size, gender, nature, similarities and differences, cultural backgrounds, our senses, math, friendship, problem solving, listening skills, international awareness, creativity...etc etc - it has been more multi-layered than I had imagined - and the Fairy Tea Party does not signal the end of this project, but we are sensing a slight shift of focus as the children begin to show an interest in fairy flying power - and Ellen and I have discussed pursuing this to bring in some technology, design and science into this fairy project too... the abandoned broken bike that we have found could be a useful part in a design/creative display of flight... how do fairies fly? How do other things fly?

But back to the Tea Party and some images of our celebration...

we made zucchini fairy cakes - the challenge being making inclusive fairy cakes that not only followed the preschool policy of no sugar but also not containing any ingredients that any of the children had allergies to. An experiment for sure - and it probably needed some tweeking for sure. The topping was made from cream cheese and puréed rehydrated dried blueberries.
the great part of baking is that it really gets the children using the play dough in a more thoughtful way... there is always a food-making theme somewhere in the children's play-dough play - but it was VERY evident after baking in the morning. This dough was magic as I hid the colour inside a ball of plain playdough and then they got to sprinkle fairy dust onto it!
there was a lot of delighted sighs when the children saw the fairy land - the background being the artwork the children have made based on the philosophical dialogues over the last 6 weeks with the children. Check out the posts under the label "Fairy Tea Party" to find out more about all of this.

a detail of the fairyland - the fairy boot in the background made by my daughter that she thought that my preschoolers would enjoy - she was right - and they were so pleased that she had thought of them. Fafu hats make very good fairy houses and fairy mountains...

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite was being played in the background and all the fairies started to dance and twirl to the fairy music

testing out their fairy wings - and of course this testing allows the children to test out elements of risky play - how high to jump/fly from, how hard the surface to land on, can more than one child jump at the same time, and how can that be done?

fairy picnic with the fairy cakes that we had made the day before - also with rainbow fruit kebabs and mini- sausages - just as the children had told us what fairies like to eat.

adding fairy dust to each child - would it allow us to fly. This was edible glitter and we sprinkled some onto the food too!

of course not all children could see the house in the Fafu hat - and popped it onto their heads instead to give them fairy play power... The table is covered with a silver survival tent, and there is a tree stump there as well as lots of pretend flowers and jewels. We used a darkened room at first and the glowing light-table as the children had said that fairies come out in the dark.

a image of the whole scene - the pictures on the background are images of the children where I had used "PicMonkey" to make the images magical and give each child wings. Today was the first time the children got to see themselves as fairies (apart from the invitation where they were so small on that it would have been hard to see the details - and I also wonder if the parents showed them this image - and I also know that one child/parent DID not take their invite home). I asked the children before they started to play with the fairyland how they thought it would be best to play there as fairies would not want children arguing over who was playing with what and when. The suggestion by one of the children was that first they all come to the fairyland and just look at it for a while together. They all agreed - and the play began from there...

so now there will be some serious though about how we can challenge the children's thinking and interest in flight so that we can learn more together...

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