Friday, 6 September 2013

Week 3 of Fairy Philosophies

This week our philosophical dialogues took a slightly new format. Instead of a warm up question we handed out their name labels and placed two images of fairies in the middle of the circle. The children were asked to place their name next to the image that they thought looked most like a fairy and then were given time to think about WHY they had made this choice. On this week's second session the children were asked to put their name next to the image (2 new images) of the fairy they would like to be - and again time was given for them to think about WHY they had made this decision...

session one - which image looks most like a fairy?
6 children chose the image to the left (L)
3 children chose the image to the right (R)

  •  because they are in love with each other. Is it a girl? It's a fairy. (R)
  • it is a girl, a little girl that can fly /(L)
  • one card and one card /(L)
  • because it is beautiful. I chose it because I chose it. The other one has string round its leg - and the other (L) is smaller than that one (R) - /(L)
  • that one is a knight (R) - /(L)
  • because it is the most beautiful. Because the other one is an Indian and a fairy. /(L)
  • it is a princess and dances with the king. And it has wings and dances with the king. /(L)
  • - but that one is a girl - and that one is a girl...
  • - they are both princesses
  • both are princesses, and both can fly. But they are not the same. Both have pony tails and that one has a dress and that one does not. /(L)
  • it has a pony tail (R)
  • because I like it (R)

the second session - which one would you prefer to be?
 Half of the children chose one, the other half chose the other. (V) on the left and (H) on the right

  • because I want to be it, because it is beautiful and because it has fins and is a mermaid /(H)
  • that is the one I chose, yes, I want that one. /(V)
  • I want that one because it can fly.. and I would meet her. She can fly and be angry. /(V)
  • because I like it. Because it can fly. /(V)
  • because I like it... because I like it... /(H)
  • because I liked it... I like it now. Because I want to be inside. /(H)
  • because... because... because I like it and want to be her - because I like the picture /(H)
  • I like it. I want to be it /(V)
  • because I like it. Because I like it (using a different Swedish word for like). I cannot tell you any more. /(H)
  • I love it. I like it. /(V) (even though half way through the session she wanted to change her choice)
  • it is a boy ... because it does not have coloured wings and does not have a skirt one (but I do not have a skirt on, does that mean I am a boy? Look around EVERYONE is wearing trousers, are we all boys?)  .. if girls wear trousers it doesn't matter.. It's a boy because its wearing skeletons and girls don't wear skeletons - and because that one has coloured wings and girls have colour...

The last part of the dialogue went fast and it was hard to get down all the thoughts on paper... but it was certainly interesting that girls are more colourful, and that this observation could be made from black and white images!
Again the fairy project is waking gender stereotypes so that we can see what the children think makes a girl and a boy - and by finding out more about WHAT THEY THINK we can then work towards ensuring that there are no walls built between these stereotypes and that the children feel able to dip into any inspiration, activity etc that interests them and do not feel limited that their gender confines them to behave in a certain way...

At the moment it is clear that the children are able to make choices about what they like but need more practice to articulate as to WHY they like it and why they have made a particular choice. Again we need to remind ourselves of the fact that these children are aged between 2 and 4 - and that some of these children are new to the group, so the group is still working on finding its "we" feeling. We have talked about next week offering just one image so that we can discuss this - and to take an image of a fairy that could be a boy or a girl and to see how the children discuss this - what choises will they make and why - and if there is just one image and something more familiar to them (being a boy or a girl) then maybe it will allow the children to expand on their thoughts more...

There was no specific idea for using black and white images except for that is what Ellen had available as a printing option at home. But I am really glad that it was in black and white and that I got to hear about the comment about colour - that at least one of the children could "see" colour in the black and white images - I found that VERY interesting, and I am rather interesting in exploring this  more at some point.

We still haven't presented the images of the children "magicked" into fairies, but I am sort ofthinking that this could be a great surprise for the fairy tea party - or as part of the invitation to the fairy tea party on the 20th September - just 2 weeks away now!

And time is flying by so fast that we have not yet even started to entertain exploring flight yet... but there is yet time, and there seems to be a great deal of possibilities before the children tire of this project!

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