Wednesday, 16 September 2015

International Fairy Tea Party 2015

On Friday this week we will be celebrating International Fairy Tea Party - this will be the third year of celebrating.... it all started here - where I got inspired by an image, mistakenly the wrong image... but, well it got me thinking and I reached out to see if there were others that were also interested... fortunately Tom at Fafunia believed strongly not only in faeries but also in children's right to play... and so International Fairy Tea Party became a celebration for the first time in 2013.

It is exciting to see how the celebration is spreading... more countries joining in this celebration of children's play and imagination.

A question was asked on Filosofiska's facebook page (the preschool where I work)
"Så spännande! Blir nyfiken på hur ni tänker kring lärandets objekt, vad är det ni vill synliggöra för barnen med temat?" Which translates as
"How exciting! I'm curious how you think about the learning purpose, what is it you want to make visible for kids with the theme?"

First and foremost I think this is a celebration of PLAY... it is pure play not to focus on the learning... but children's right to play... yes, learning happens but what the fairy tea party is about, for me, is for us adults to be reminded about the value of play... the power of play... and creating the time for children to simply play and let their imaginations fly... and for us adults to step into this world of imagination and play with ideas and possibilities and enjoy the play.

Learning happens... I have seen the learning happening within the children's fairy world...
And the learning is not limited to the children... it has been for everyone that has been open... Here are some links to previous posts... so learning can be made visible...

BOYS AND FAIRIES - we discovered quickly that fairies are not just for girls... that boys have enjoyed this realm of magic, with flying, spells, wings, fairy dust, being small etc etc just as much. The children have been allowed the chance to experience gender equality in the sense that we are not dividing play into categories for boys and girls. STORYCARDS have been created to allow the children see fairies in many ways (there are also storycards with other themes to with norm-critical thinking applied to them) - the idea is that there are fat fairies, skinny fairies, angry fairies, kind fairies, babies, old with and without wings, ugly, beautiful, those that look real, those that look likema child or old person dressed up, different ethnicities, different sizes, different genders, hunters, warriors.... the idea is that the idea of fairy is not a fixed idea but has many possibilities... just as a flower is not a circle with five loops around it (as is often drawn) but comes in many sizes, colours, shapes, just as we humans come with out many variations... we learn to accept differences as natural, not simply tolerate differences.

FAIRIES IN THE FOREST - it has been a great way for the children to get out into nature and to make new observations... we had talked about "what is a fairy?" and the children described them as very small and with wings and magic... so when we went looking for them it was small details they suddenly saw... the small tiny things that had gobe unnoticed before... and this has been the same every year... forest fairy math

THE START OF A MAGIC FOREST - this post is one of many where we explored the fairy world through art... not just representing their ideas articistically, but also scientifically exploring colours and texture... we also explored the cultures of where the children came from, learned about limits and how disregarding them affects others, there were opportunities to develop motor skills... including blowing through straws to aid oral muscles for pronuciation.... Morocco inspired fairy art ; adding more to the magic forest ; Fairy sky - windpower ; Painting by letter... testing boundaries ; Fairy Portraits ; winter magic forest ; WINGS for fairies ; transforming friends into fairies ;

Philosophy - we have also explored fairies through philosophy... the children learning about respect for each other, listening to ideas, developing their own, developing their language skills, their social skills, their critical and creative thinking, - are fairies real? Which looks most like a fairy? Whats do they eat? Where do they live? Are there bad fairies? etc etc... following the children's interests we have explored the imagination and the reality of fairies... using activities and play to explore further and test ideas we have discussed.

MAKING WANDS IN THE FOREST  - we have learned about how we can upcycle things from the forest to create something new... with the fairy project we made wands... and then there was so much role-playing of transforming each other (and us teachers) into animals, objects etc, that made us laugh, and tested out our gross motor skills too.

FAIRY DOOR - maths has also been a part of the fairy exploration... forest math

Fly jumping - risk assessment has also been an important part of the fairy project... especially as they have wanted to test out their flying skills quite often...

WITH AN OPEN HEART - books have also played an important part... storybooks with their tales to play, to hear words and to share with others... aslo fact books (or fact like books) where we have explored ideas about the fairy realm, have we also noticed those things outside... allowing the children to see the world with yet another perspective... allowing the children in this instance to listen to the forest... Books have also inspired the children art, as in this post - where the focus is not on the resulting artwork but on the social process of the art. Sun Egg inspired math

DANCING ON RAINBOWS the children have had the opportunity to influence their own experience and learning... by collaborating together to make decisions and as the teacher I have scaffolded their ideas and enabled them to come to fruition.

Another important learning area of being a part of the International Fairy Tea Party is learning more about the world we live in... there is a fairy map... and all the parties are located on the map... we can see where in the world our party is, and where in the world others celebrate... we learn about the names of countries and towns that are meaninful to us. We also get to see images of the celebrations... we get to talk about similarities and differences... and opportunity to see play around the world... this year we can learn more about South Africa, Nepal, USA, Australia (my children here in Stockholm are fascinated by the fact that Australian and New Zealand children will celebrate in spring, while we celebrate in autumn, yet we celebrate on the same day), Canada, UK, Iceland, Costa Rica... etc. It allows us to make the world a little smaller and our play a little bigger...

Here is my raw planning from a year ago... so you can see how I am connecting the play and the learning...

Every Friday we have had a meeting to talk about what we have learned during the week... sometimes it is as simple as . "I learned that if you wear welly boots without socks you can get BIG blisters" - so sock wearing with wellies has become a big thing now... important lesson learned... often we have learned things that are not directly related to fairies, but our fairy play has allowed us to learn it... and for me that is what it is all about... the learning within the play. We are not learning ABOUT fairies... we are learning about LIFE within our fairy play. And the children are doing this with GREAT JOY!

 The International Fairy Tea Party a celebration of CHILDREN'S PLAY and IMAGINATION
Celebrated close the equinox... so that all children around the world are united through play, imagination and number of daylight hours... we will all have different cultures, different languages, different resources and opportunities... but we can meet and share daylight play and imagination!

Learning is not the agenda - but learning flows through children's play.

Let the children play

1 comment:

  1. Great to know about this fairy tea party. Have never arranged such party. But now thinking of having it now at one of NYC venues for all my friends. Will take ideas from internet. And will make my day fun and enjoyable for all the attendees.