Sunday, 9 February 2014

Clay and three-five year olds.

On Wednesday mornings our group of eleven 3-5 year olds gets divided into two groups - one group is working in the Blue Room (movement) where we are experimenting with how philsophy can be done in motion... and the other half is in the atelier with me where we are reflecting together about clay.

This was the first time this group have come in contact with REAL clay. I cut square slabs for each and placed them on a tile... suddenly realising that I left my camera in my bag... so I wondered if I could "test" them a little... could they resist touching the clay until I returned... 30 seconds later I could see the temptation had been far too much - each square of clay had one or more finger prints decorating the surface...

We giggled together about how it was much too exciting to wait and the children were given free hands to explore the clay. Unlike the 2 year olds these 3-5 year olds were less cautious about exploring a new material and did not need any encouragement to get going.
Several times I was asked "when are we going to make the sculpture?" as the claywork will eventually end up becoming a continuation of the project based on the artwork we have observed in the Senior Centre next door to us.

this is step 2 - the first step was choosing which part of the artwork was their favourite - and why, this step was drawing their choice. The final step being making a clay model of it...
Once they got used to the idea that this session... and the next few sessions was dedicated to exploring the clay they could turn their energies to messing about with the clay and testing its properties.
One of the children said that this was so much fun and that "we always do such exciting things at preschool" - another child was quick to pint out that "sometimes you say you don't want to come to preschool" - and there began a dialogue about how we can feel different about things on different days and even on the same day.

As the children worked I took out their logbooks and asked them about their first impressions of working with clay - and also asking the others whether they agreed with their reflections. This is part of the process of seeing their own ideas and listening to other's ideas and reflecting upon how these are similar or not with their own experience/knowledge.

Next week will be another play session without tools and the week after tools will be introduced

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