Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Pedagogical Documentation - a Beginner's Guide - Session THREE

This is the third in a four part series on Pedagogical documentation.
to read this post... please go to my new website

Visit to "Bild och Tanke" preschool...

I spent a morning at Bild och Tanke preschool today, found in the suburbs of Stockholm. Bild och Tanke means Image and Thought.

It was lovely to be back in an environment designed for children. This is a small preschool... and it is with intention that it is small. On my way home my mind raced about the obvious benefits I saw for these children attending a small preschool.. there were less relationships to manage, fewer other children to compete with for adult attention... and no matter what you tell me about wanting children to be independent and competent and all that (I want that too) - I remember so clearly How I wanted adult approval, adult attention... I remember that feeling of being special if I got it... and I know this should not be the case, I know that children should not desire that need for approval... but i think it is there within us all no matter how old we are... as children I/we sought approval of adults... and as adults we seek approval of our bosses... as humans we want to be seen, we want to be heard, we want to be valued... and being one of 25 is much easier than being 1 of 40 or 50 or more... even if the adult ratio is the same... I have got to the point where I need to check out some research into this... so if there is anyone reading this that can recommend some good papers/research to read, please add the recommendation to the comments...

So why do I mention that the children had a benefit?
I was there for only 2.5 hours... but during this time, my first visit ever... the children were all confident in asking who I was, why I was there, how long I would be staying... introducing themselves etc. I also saw how they helped each other, how they said kind things and complemented each other (and me) and also how the apologised for accidents and also accepted happenings as accidents... this I shall go into more detail...

Two children had spent quite some time constructing a series of sandcastles, with a complex story attached of what they were and who lived there and how many rooms there were in each castle.
Some other children came over to look... one of them balanced on the edge of the sandbox and accidently lost balanced and partially destroyed the biggest and so-labelled most beautiful castle. The child with a destructive foot moved quickly to the side.. he looked at the scene of destruction, and looked at the two children who had built it... they had not noticed... the child could have moved on and no-one would know. There was a slight pause... then the child said...
"I was balancing here and my foot slipped here, and the castle fell down like this... I did not mean to, I lost my balance. Sorry"
The children who had built the castle looked at the castle then looked at the apologetic child and one of them answered
"Its OK. We can build more"
The educator close by added..
"Maybe it is now a ruin... many old castles become ruins over time?"
"Yes, yes" many of the children said... as there were quite a few collected at the sandbox now.. at least 6... "it is a ravine"
In Swedish ruin and ravine rhyme. (Roo-een / ravv-een)

The play then carried on... all the children now involved with building, digging holes, filling up holes with water etc, making a few more ruins...

If the children were less secure (and I have seen this) then there would have been not the confidence to own up to this mistake, there would not have been the strength to accept that others make mistakes - many think they do stuff on purpose... and there would not have been the joy of being able to then play together with very little adult interaction...

The whole outdoor area was filled with children in groups busy exploring one thing or another... those children wanting/needing to run had an area they could do this without disturbing the gentle busy-ness going on... in the "pit" (a small mound with a slight dent in the top like a nest) was filled with loose parts that could be used to construct cocoons  - and activity connected to the children's interest in the butterfly cocoons found inside... in the middle were also images of cocoons belonging to other insects... not just butterflies so the children were making and reflecting on what could be inside their cocoon... the educator busy taking down notes...

I think with the preschool being smaller it not only means the children do not have as many relationships to manage... it also means the educators have fewer too... this means each child can be seen and listened to on a deeper level...

Well these are my observations and my reflections - having worked at both small and large preschools and also visited both small and large ones too..
but I am keen to follow this and learn more...
BUT first I am to communicate with Jenin... another skype meeting and then the next in the series about pedagogical documentation... THEN I can start exploring this idea..
Meanwhile enjoy these two images of the garden from Bild och Tanke.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Pedagogical Documentation... beginners guide... Session ONE

This is a guide... it is not a step by step manual. So please read, let it fill you with ideas and with questions... and the courage to start...
this is a post for pedagogues that have not yet started using pedagogical documentation and are interested in learning more about this documentation approach...
This is post one of four... they are connected to the sessions I am holding via skype with early years educators in Jenin, Palestine.

If you wish to read the whole post - please go to...

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

MOMO and play...

In 1973 Michael Ende wrote the book "Momo" - it is about a girl with the ability to tell stories, to capture the imagination and for play - it is also about someone who can REALLY listen... a child that creates an almost time-free zone through play and listening... a child that creates an almost time free zone through play. The grey men are time stealers... they make everyone work hard in order to "save time" to do the things they like later... of course later never comes. Momo becomes their enemy... she cannot be convinced to save time by playing with toys that are not open ended, and her playful power is so strong that she inspires all of those around her...
In the book she goes out of time for a while to learn with Professor Hora how the grey men can be defeated; but during this time the grey men succeed in controlling the children... the hardest part of society to control as they were not so easily convinced to save time like adults...

The children are put into depots... because it was too dangerous to have them on the streets, they needed to be educated for the future, accidents involving children cost so much money and could be used for other things, and because the adults were so busy trying to save time that they no longer had time for the children... 

"None  of Momo's friends escaped the new regulation. They were split up according to the districts that they came from and consigned to various child depots. Once there, they were naturally forbidden to play games of their own devising. All games were selected for them by supervisors and had to have some useful, educational purpose. The children learned these new games but unlearned something else in the process: they forgot how to be happy, how to take pleasure in little things, and last, but not least, how to dream.
Weeks passed, and the children began to look like the time-savers in miniature. Sullen, bored and resentful, they did as they were told. Even when left to their own devices, they no longer knew what to do with themselves. All they could still do was make a noise, but it was an angry, ill-tempered noise, not the happy hullabaloo of former times."

I find it interesting that in 1973 Michael Ende (author of Never-ending Story) saw how adults would so completely control children's lives... I have seen how the free play... free from adults (but not devoid of adult care) from my own childhood seems a rare things in most parts of the western world. I saw glimpses of it in Palestine, but it was not free for both genders.

By sharing this excerpt I am not in any way saying the early childhood education centres are something bad and should be avoided at all costs.. what my intention is that we who work in these centres and home-settings are aware of the need for play in its many glorious forms. That we need a healthy play diet.
I have been writing about this all morning as part of the play chapter for my book, and it made me think of Momo, which made me want to share it.

For me play needs to be safe, but that does not mean it should not be without risk, but play should be a space where children feel safe enough to express themselves, to explore their emotions, test out their skills, make mistakes, adventure with their imaginations etc etc. There also needs to be freedom, and openness to try out the things that we as adults feel uncomfortable with... like using sticks as guns... so that the children can make sense of the world together with others, and not feel confused in isolation.
Pedagogical play, I feel, is part of the play diet... but the space to experience this free play with a non-judgemental openness is being offered less and less, as children are being institutionalised younger and younger with the express need that they should be trained to be good citizens.
And it is not as if I want bad citizens... its just I have more faith in play and children.

excerpt from: Michael Ende (1984) "Momo", page 168.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Updated version of "The Relevance of Malaguzzi in ECE"

It is one of my most read posts... and yet when I read it I see the gaping holes I would loved to have filled if I had had more word space... it was an assignment as part of my masters...
So I have returned to the paper and added a few more reflections... and since there was a request to be able to download it and have more access to it, I have made it into a downloadable pdf file...
you just need to click on this link

The Relevance of Malaguzzi in ECE

and it should take you to another page where you can read online, or download for later.

I hope it inspires some further thinking, or gets you going as you start your journey in the Reggio Emilia Approach, for whatever reason you read this... I hope that it offers you something.

all the best

not often there are images of me here... but just so you get an idea of who I am behind this blog... well sort of...

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Why Together Paintings/Art?

(på svenska)

I have always liked collaborative art... of working together...
I find that often the focus is on the individual, which is an essential part of working as an educator... to see each individual child and to enable them to reach their potential... but individuals live, work and play in groups, so they need to work out how to be themselves in not just one group, but in a variety of groups and social situations.
Together art gives children the opportunity to express themselves and interact with other. It is not a form of art that is conflict free - it can require a great deal of scaffolding at times - but it does give the children time and space to practice those social skills while doing something enjoyable. They learn how to take turns, to make space for each other, or take space from others (as there are children who take up a lot of social space and children who take up too little social space... they both need to learn how to allow an equality in the social space): they learn how to be inspired by each other... sharing techniques, learning from mistakes etc etc etc...

I also felt there was a lot of "mine" happening, so by making art together we were creating "ours". It is not that we were making only together art, but that there was a mix of many options of big group art, small group art, working in pairs and working individually... and that all of these ways felt natural for the children to partake in.

Lots of scaffolding in the early days, allowed me to take more and more steps back as the children would scaffold each other more and more.

Also by allowing together paintings to happen across the ages the older children got the chance to realise just how competent the younger children are... and stopped referring to them as babies...

In this post I have selected a whole load of different together art for you to see and think about... (under there are photos and more information)

Jag har alltid gillat samarbetskonst ... att arbeta tillsammans ...
Jag tycker att det ofta är fokus på individen som är den väsentlig del av att arbeta som pedagog ... att se varje enskilt barn och att göra det möjligt för dom att nå sin potential ... men individer bor, arbetar och lekar i grupper, så dom måste lista ut hur man ska vara sig i inte bara en grupp, men i en mängd olika grupper och sociala situationer.
"Tillsammanskonst" ger möjlighet att uttrycka sig och interagera med andra. Det är inte en konstform som är konfliktfri - det kan kräva en hel del "scaffolding" ibland - men det ger barnen tid och utrymme att öva dom sociala färdigheterna samtidigt som man gör något roligt/spännande. Dom lär sig att turas om, skapa plats för varandra eller ta plats från andra (eftersom det finns barn som tar upp mycket socialt utrymme och barn som tar upp för lite socialt utrymme ... dom båda måste lära sig hur man skapa jämlikhet i det sociala rummet): dom lär sig att inspireras av varandra ... dela tekniker, lära av misstag etc etc etc ...

Jag upplever att det finns mycket "min" som ske på en förskola, så genom att skapa konst tillsammans skapade vi "vårt". Det var inte så att vi bara gjorde konst tillsammans, men att det fanns en blandning av många alternativ av stor gruppkonst, liten gruppkonst, som arbetar i par och arbetar individuellt ... och att alla dessa sätt kände sig naturliga för barnen att delta i.

Det krävde mycket "scaffolding" (stöd) i de tidiga dagar för att göra det möjligt för mig att ta fler och fler steg tillbaka - att bli en osynlig stöd, så barnen kunde stödja varandra mer och mer. Att lära  genom att lära andra.

Genom att låta "tillsammans-målningar" ske under åren har de äldre barnen möjlighet att inse hur kompetent de yngre barnen är ... och slutade att hänvisa till dom som småbarn ...

I det här inlägget har jag valt en hel mängd olika tillsammans konst för att du ska titta och tänka på ...

when working with one year olds I introduced together painting in a different way... not so much that they were all there the first time, but in ones and twos so that it was not overwhelming. In this image just off-screen were three children watching... two of them had shown us that they did not like getting messy in previous art opportunities. There was so much joy when this child painted that both the children who did not like getting messy wanted to try...  and this is the beauty of together painting that children can inspire each other. Both those two only painted for a very short time... but they had tried something that they had avoided passionately before hand.
när jag arbetade med ett-åringar, introducerade jag tillsammans-målning på ett annat sätt ... inte så mycket att de var alla där tillsammans på första gången,  istället en och två så att det inte var överväldigande - det blev ett slags moment bild - men många tillsammanskonst åprojekt blev på det viset också). På bilden var det ett barn som målade och tre barn som tittade på ... två av åskådare hade visat att dom inte tyckte om att bli kladdig i tidigare aktiviteter. Det var så mycket glädje när barnet målade att båda barnen som inte tyckte om att bli kladdig ville prova ... och det här är skönheten att tillsammans målning att barn kan inspirera varandra. Båda dessa två målade bara under en mycket kort tid ... men dom hade vågat prova något som dom hade undvikit passionerat innan.

sometimes a together artwork is not about art AT ALL. This piece was a morning meeting, it was about supporting the group to take turns, supporting the group to take the time to think and reflect and to support the group to help each other... it was not about being creative and expressing themselves through art.
The idea was that each child selected three squares of tissue paper... the colours on offer were the same colours found on Elmer the Elephant by David McKee - the children needed to glue their three squares onto the elephant in order and also to make sure that the same colour square did not touch each other (although corners were allowed). This was a lot of thinking for eleven 2-3 year olds It required patience to wait your turn (each child had several turns), but being an active adviser also helped with that. It also meant that children could not just select their favourite colour but had to explore other colours too.
At the end the elephant was cut out and used as part of storytelling. The children also got the opportunity to draw their own elephants and glue on pieces as they wished - but then the focus was more on painting with the glue rather than fixing pieces of paper onto their art.
Ibland handlar det inte om konst alls. Denna aktivitet var ett morgonmöte, det handlade om att stödja gruppen för att vända sig och stödja gruppen för att ta sig tid att tänka och reflektera och stödja gruppen för att hjälpa varandra ... det handlade inte om att vara kreativ och uttrycka sig genom konst.
Tanken var att varje barn valde tre rutor av silkespapper ... färgerna som erbjuds var samma färger som finns på Elmer Elefant av David McKee - barnen behövde limma sina tre rutor på elefanten i ordning och också för att se till att att samma färgruta inte rörde varandra (hörn var tillåtna). Det här var mycket att tänka på för elva 2-3 åringar. Det krävde tålamod att vänta på din tur (varje barn hade flera varv), men att vara en aktiv rådgivare hjälpte också med det. Det innebar också att barn inte bara kunde välja sin favoritfärg men var tvungen att undersöka andra färger.
I slutet klippte vi elefanten ut och användes som en del av berättandet. Barnen fick också möjlighet att rita sina egna elefanter och limma på bitar som de ville - men då var fokus mer på att måla med limmet än att fixera pappersstycken på sin konst.

this was another artwork.. making leaves for a tree which was more about supporting the children with understanding boundaries than it was about being creative. What happens if you paint out of the lines and into someone else's area, how could we resolve conflicts, how could we use self-regulation to avoid conflicts... can someone paint over the lines by accident, or is it always on purpose? Lots of ideas for the children to explore.
detta var ett annat konstverk .. göra stora blad för ett träd - som handlade mer om att stödja barnens förståelse av gränser och samtycke än att vara kreativ. Vad händer om du målar ur linjerna och in i någon annans område, hur kan vi lösa konflikter, hur kan vi använda själv-reglering för att undvika konflikter ... kan någon måla över linjerna oavsiktligt eller är det alltid med viljan? Massor av idéer för barnen att utforska.

and yet another artwork about turn taking. patience, thinking about colours, self regulating, concentrating... this was again not an art session per se, but a morning meeting/circle time/philosophy session.
Ytterlia en konstverk som handlade om turtagning, tålamod, att reflektera kring färgar, själv-reglering och koncentration - detta var egentligen en samling och inte en konst aktivitet i ateljén.

This was the first "Together painting" in the sense that it was labelled a together painting before we started... I wrote "TILLSAMMANS" on the paper in big letters which is Swedish for "TOGETHER". It was a part of a project called Together on the Square where we were exploring collaboration, empathy and the local area through the children's interests.
In the beginning I needed to have a list - a turn taking list, as there was so much disagreements about who should paint and when. There were two pots of paint, one black and one white. The idea being that the children needed to talk to each other about swapping colours... giving them the chance to learn how to ask respectfully, how to say no respectfully, to be aware that others are waiting (and if you don't like to wait, maybe they don't) and also to learn how to wait (if you don't like having to change colours to quickly, maybe others don't). This was a way for the children to learn how to socially interact with each other. It was not conflict free, but I was there to support them if needed. After a week the children did not need a turn-taking list any more, they were able to do this themselves (no longer waiting a few cm away saying "is it my turn yet?" on repeat) - they learned that there was time to paint, that they could play and return to the together painting repeatedly and have several turns during the day. The children had to learn that there was time... and everything did not need to happen now... other could be first sometimes.
Det här var den första "Tillsammans" målningen i den meningen att vi medvetet kallade den "Tillsammansmålning" innan vi började ... Jag skrev "TILLSAMMANS" på pappret i stora bokstäver,. Det var en del av ett projekt kallat Tillsammans på torget där vi undersökte samarbete, empati och lokalområdet genom barnens intressen.
I början behövde jag ha en lista - en turas om lista, eftersom det var så många meningsskiljaktigheter om vem som skulle måla och när. Det fanns två krukor av färg, en svart och en vit. Tanken var att barnen behövde prata med varandra om att byta färger ... ge dom chansen att lära sig att fråga respektfullt, hur man säger nej på ett respektfullt sätt, att vara medveten om att andra väntar (och om du inte gillar att vänta, kanske andra gör inte det heller) och också att lära sig att vänta (om du inte gillar att behöva byta färg snabbt, kanske andra gör inte inte heller). Detta var ett sätt för barnen att lära sig om social interaktion med varandra. Det var inte konfliktfritt, men jag var där för att stödja dom om det behövdes. Efter en vecka behövde barnen inte längre en turas om lista, dom kunde göra det själv (dom klarade av att vänta utan att vara några cm bort och fråga "Är det min tur ännu?") Dom lärde sig att det fanns tid för att måla, att dom kunde leka och återvända till tillsammansmålningen upprepade gånger och ha flera varv under dagen. Barnen måste lära sig att det finns tid ... och allt behövde inte hända nu på en gång ... andra kunde vara första ibland.

the together painting was active for different length of time -  sometimes a week, sometimes much longer... with different layers being added. There were many discussions about was it OK to paint over someone's work or not, and what happened to that image, was it still there. A lot of photographs were taken at the children's request, as they soon learned they could document their process and keep their artwork that way too. This was a great way for the children to understand how photography could be used as a memory and also as a form of documentation.
tillsammansmålningen var aktiv under en olika längd tider - ibland en vecka, ibland mycket längre ... med olika lager tillagda. Det fanns många diskussioner om det var OK att måla över någons arbete eller inte, och vad hände med den bilden var det fortfarande kvar. Många fotografier togs på barnens begäran, eftersom de snart lärde sig att de kunde dokumentera sin process och behålla sitt konstverk på så sätt. Detta var ett bra sätt för barnen att förstå hur fotografering kan användas som ett minne och också som en form av dokumentation.
eventually more and more children could paint at the same time as the children became more socially competent at the easel. Learning how to share the paint pots and how to communicate their desire for colour change and also their desire to not swap... they learned to do this in a respectful way... although some scaffolding still was needed on occasion. And when there were many children at the painting at the same time then space was a premium and finding space for your own creativity could be tricky... but this was all part of the skill package... conflict resolution.
I always chose the colours in the sense that they would offer the children experiences of new colours being formed when mixed... and not for it always to turn brown...(although brown happened on occasion too)
så småningom kunde fler och fler barn måla samtidigt eftersom barnen blev mer socialt kompetenta vid stafflin. Att lära sig hur man delar färg med varandra, och hur man kommunicerar sin önskan om att byta färg och också deras önskan att inte byta ... de lärde sig att göra detta på ett respektfullt sätt ... även om lite stöd fortfarande behövdes ibland. Och när det fanns många barn samtidigt var utrymme en premie och att hitta utrymme för din egen kreativitet kan vara knepigt ... men det här var en del av färdighetspaketet ... konfliktlösning.
Jag valde alltid färgerna i den meningen att de skulle erbjuda barnen upplevelser av nya färger som bildas när de blandas ... och inte för att det alltid ska bli brunt varje gång ... (även om det brunt hände ibland också)
it also became a place to test writing skills... and this inspired other children... so it was a great way for literacy to spread through play across the ages.
det blev också en plats att testa hur man skriva - som inspirerade andra barn - det var ett underbart organisk sätt att sprida skrift intresse inom lek.
The together paintings often became a wonderful sensory experience for many of the children... one child would start painting their arms an others would follow.
Tllsammansmålningar blev ofta ett tillfälle för sensorisk utforskande för många av barnen - ett barn började måla på sina armar och andra härmade 
it was also a place where we tested new techniques... like putting tape across and then peeling it off when the paint was dry...
Det var också en plats att testa olika tekniker... t.ex att använda tejp och sedan ta bort den när färgen var torr...
or dipping straws into paint and blowing it onto the paper
eller att doppa sugrör i färga och sedan blåsa ut färgen på pappret
or gluing bits of paper onto the paper using glitter filled glue... this was to create a hedge of thorns and flowers as part of a sleep beauty project the children were exploring.
eller att limma små pappersbitar med glitter lim ... här skapade barnen häcken från Törnrosa
sometimes we decided BEFOREHAND how to collaborate... here the children made rainbow - each child with their own colour and taking it in turns to make a series of rainbows across the paper... They really had to check each rainbow to see which one was the next for them to paint, so that the colours would come in the "right order" - the children helped each other out.
Ibland vi bestämde INNAN hut vi skulle samarbeta - här barnen bestämde att dom skulle måla många regnbåge - varje barn målade med sitt regnbågs färg och turades om med att streck. Dom verkligen behövde kolla hur dom gjorde så att färgarna kom i rätt ordning, något som barnen klarade av att göra själv när dom samarbetade.
sometimes instead of pots I would put a tray of colour out for them to use - often the tray itself would become the artwork - and there could be intense dialogues between the children when one wanted the colours separate and the others were mixing on the tray... these were great opportunities to learn.
ibland jag presenterade an bricka med färg på istället för små burkar med färg - ofta blev brickan som en konstverk också... men det var alltid en dialog mellan barnen - ska vi blanda på brickan eller inte, vad händer med färgarna då...
Together painting can be taken outside... this is plastic stretched between trees... the same idea of different colour pots with a brush in each and for the children to enter a dialogue with each other to change colour. This was part of the International Fairy Tea Party celebrations that are held every year in September...
Tillsammansmålningar kan ske utomhus också - såsom en stor bit plast sträckt ut mellan träden - samma idé att det fanns många burkar med olika färgar som barnen måste byta med varandra. Det här var en del av vårt firande av International Fairy Tea Party (Älvkalaset)
more outside collaborative art - it does not always have to be paint...
mer utomhuskonst... det behöver inte vara målarfärg hela tiden
sometimes it is using what the children find
ibland det är saker som barnen hitta

and they can sometimes find all sorts of junk to create with...
och kan skapa med alla möjliga saker
some collaborative artworks have been done very differently... in the sense that they did not work on them at the same time... we had 11 children and 6 pieces of art... half the group went outside to play while half worked on the first stage of creating a magic forest...
vissa samarbets-konstverk skapades på ett annat sätt... den här gången arbetade barnen på samma konstverk på olika tider - 11 barn jobbade på 6 bakgrund - hälften gick utomhus medan hälften jobbade med en magisk skog - sedan nästa gång var det tvärtom
then the other half would come in and continue the magic forest process... this happened many times until the children were satisfied
den andra hälften fortsatt på den magiska skogen med en annan teknik - detta skedde många gånger
layer by layer...
lager på lager 
and then a few months later the children decided that the forest were no longer correct... winter had arrived and we needed to change the look of the forest... so we took them down from the wall, lined them up on the table and then on another table at the other side of the room I put lots of white tissue paper for the children to rip up, make balls with etc and glue onto the forest images... all 11 children on the 6 forest artworks - it was an interesting dynamic watching the children negotiate the movement in the room and interacting with each other to ensure each forest picture became wintery.
och sedan några månader senare bestämde barnen att skogen inte längre var korrekt ... Vinter hade kommit och vi behövde förändra skogens utseende ... så vi tog dom ner från väggen, lade dem upp på bordet och sedan på ett annat bord vid andra sidan av rummet satte jag massor av vitt silkespapper för barnen att riva upp, göra bollar med etc och limma på skogsbilderna ... alla 11 barn på de 6 skogsverken - det var en intressant dynamik - barnen förhandlar deras rörelse i rummet och interagerar med varandra för att säkerställa att varje skogsbild blir vintrig.

This idea of a communal paint centre I have used many times... this was part of a rainforest painting... each child painted a rainforest using flowers and leaves... the first session was leaves, the background, using a variety of greens... the children came to a central table to dip leaves and then print on their own paper... the idea being there is movement and the need to take turns with the paints... and not just to paint their own creation in isolation.
Den här tanken på ett gemensamt målcenter har jag använt många gånger ... det här var en del av en regnskogsmålning ... varje barn målade en regnskog med blommor och blad ... den första sessionen var löv, bakgrunden, med en mängd olika gröna ... barnen kom till ett centralt bord för att doppa blad och sedan trycka på eget papper ... idén är att det finns rörelse och behovet att turas om med färgerna ... och inte bara att måla sin egen skapelse isolerat.
it was also about sharing materials, and inspiring each other.
det handlade om att dela material också och att inspirera varandra
I have done several spaghetti/string painting over the years, in a variety of ways too... but this way of doing it in small groups and collaborating is the way I have enjoyed most... as I see the interactions between the children have been at the best. A pile of string or spaghetti, dip in the paints and then let the noodle/string dance on the paper in a variety of ways - some children have told stories together as they create the art, some have sang together, once I saw a group do this in total silence.
Jag har gjort flera spagetti/strängmålning under åren, på många olika sätt också ... men det här sättet att göra det i små grupper och samarbeta är det sätt jag har gillat mest ... eftersom jag ser interaktionerna mellan barnen har varit optimal. En hög av sträng eller spagetti, dopp i färgerna och låt nudlarna/strängen dansa på pappret på olika sätt - några barn har berättat sagor tillsammans när dom skapar konsten, vissa har sjungit ihop, en gång observerade jag en grupp som gjorde detta i totalt tystnad.
the art is then done over time in a series of small groups... adding more and more depth to the artwork.
konstverket skapade över tid med en serie smågrupper - lager på lager

sometimes artwork can take a long time to get going - like this one did... I was sweaty at the end of this due to having to work so hard at the scaffolding and trying to keep my cool... I was getting frustrated by the children's total lack of listening to each other. It was a new group to me, and after working for four years with the same group and really working on the group dynamic and how to listen to each other, it came as a shock to work with a group that could not. But just because it was not easy is not reason enough not to do it... maybe it is more reason to do it... to expose the children to an opportunity to learn about the needs of others and how to make sure their own needs are met too.
ibland kan konstverket ta en lång tid att komma igång - som den här gjorde ... Jag var svettig vid slutet av detta på grund av att jag var tvungen att arbeta så hårt på att skapa "scaffolding"  (stödja) och försöka hålla mig lugn ... Jag blev frustrerad av barnens totala brist på att lyssna på varandra. Det var en ny grupp för mig och efter att ha arbetat i fyra år med samma grupp och verkligen arbetat med gruppdynamiken och hur man lyssnar på varandra kom det som en chock att arbeta med en grupp som inte kunde. Men bara för att det inte var lätt är det inte anledning nog att undvika det ... kanske det är mer anledning att göra det ... att utsätta barnen för en möjlighet att lära sig om andras behov och hur man ska se till att deras egna behoven är uppfyllda också.
more outside art collaboration... this time using coloured ice on fabric
mer utomhus samarbeta - färgade is och tyg
Together painting on the square.The water source was two spray bottles that the children needed to collaborate together with to ensure they could all paint... as well as changing the colour pucks with each other.
Tillsammansmålning på torget. Endast två spray flaskor som barnen ska turas om med samt flera färg puck att samarbeta kring
some outdoor art is more science than art... this is where the children painted on the slide (well paper on the slide) we also used the swings to create art too together.
ibland är utomhus konst mer som vetenskap - vi målade på en rutschkana (papper på rutschkana) - vi användade gungorna att måla tillsammans med också...
vi inte hade en egen gård, så vi tog med allting till en lite park i närheten - man KAN om man vill.
the swing art became the background for the fairy portraits... the children drew each other, added wings and then cut them out.
konstverket från gångarna och rutschkanan blev bakgrunden till mer konst - älvporträtt - där barnen ritade av varandra och sedan ritade vingar och klippte ut.
taking turns mixing the spices.
turas om att blanda kryddor i vitfärg

this is part of making a background for a Moroccan inspired fairy land...
en del av en bakgrunden till ett älvland inspirerad av Morocko - ett barns familj kom därifrån

it was also about self regulation... can I put paint on all of my friends backs? Will they like it? Should I ask first, is it ok to say no?
det handlade om själv-reglering - få jag lägga färga på mina kompisars rygg? Vill dom tycka om det? Borde jag fråga första? Är det OK att säga nej?

and this is the sky for that fairy land... some made the trees, some made the sky etc... all the children do not all have to do the same thing... we can all contribute in different ways. This session was designed to help the children with pronunciation difficulties to train their mouths through blowing the paint through the straws... Paint on sugar solution.
det här är himlen från älvlandet - vissa gjorde träd, andra gjorde himlen... vi behöver inte alla göra samma sak för att det ska vara lika - vi kan delta på olika sätt med lika värde. Den här aktivitet var skapade för att stödja barnen med uttrycks svårigheter, lite extra munträning genom att blåsa genom en sugrör - färg på sockerlösning.

I have done a lot of light table painting with children... in pairs and in groups... as well as individually. The small space adds a challenge, but that is a part of the process. Again a lot of story telling, singing and dancing usually happens.
Jag har gjort många ljusbord målningar med barn - i par och i grupper, samt individuellt. Det trånga utrymme skapa en ny utmaning, men det är också en del av processen. Igen det ske mycket sagoberättande, sång och dans här.

and it has seldom been a negative experience as there is just so much wonder and joy.
det har sällan varit en negativ upplevelse eftersom det finns så mycket glädje och beundran
some together paintings have been a meta dialogue... a reaction to a philosophy session... here the children has explained that to play magical powers (what we had discussed in our philosophy session) there was a need to dance on a rainbow. So together we created a big rainbow to dance on... with our feet... and the children cheering each other on...
vissa tillsammans målningar har varit en meta-dialog - nästa steg i en filosofisk samtal - här barnen hade förklarat att om man skulle leka magiska krafter (som vi hade diskuterat i den filosofiska samtalet) måste man dansa på en regnbåge. Då skapade vi en regnbåge för att kunna dansa på - med fötterna - och barnen visade glädje och stödja varandra i processen.
sometimes it has just been about paint directly on the floor... because they wanted to clean up like Cinderella (boys and girls). So we paint and then we clean it all up together. Taking responsibility together.
ibland har vi målat direkt på golvet - för att dom vill städa som Askungen (pojkar och flickor) - Så vi målade på golvet och tog ansvar att städa efteråt tillsammans

big painting on the floor... working out together how to make brown... testing theories and then finding a solution.
This was part of making a gingerbread house as we explored Hansel and Gretel. The candies for the house was made with paint scented with peppermint, lemon etc...
att måla stort på golvet - att testa hur man skapa brun - testa olika teorier för att hitta en lösning. Det här var en del av att skapa en stor pepparkakshus (Hans och Greta). Vi målade godis med färg som luktade mynta, citron osv

individual portraits brought together. Individuals make up a group.
individuella porträtt, fast tillsammans. Individer skapa en grupp.

here we needed a big artwork in the dining area, not to just cheer up the room but also to act as a sound absorber... so we painted on fabric. The whole preschool was involved. The younger children first, printing with vegetables and fruit, and also dancing with coloured feet and hands... fabric is great for this as it is not slippery.
Här fanns ett behov av att skapa en stor konstverk i matsalen för att dämpa ljudet - då målade vi på tyg. Hela förskolan deltog. Dom yngre barnen målade först med frukt och grönsaker men också med fötter och händerna - dansande - tyg är så underbart eftersom det blir inte halkig och är då tryggt för dom yngre barn att utforska med mindre risk för skada.

then the older children finished off the artwork by using black paint to draw fruit, vegetables and other foods.
dom äldre barn avslutade konstverket genom att måla frukt, grönsaker och andra mat med svart färg
this is a similar artwork... where the younger children made the background and the older children painted spring images on top... a way for ALL the children to be a part of the process.
det här är ett liknande konstverk ... där dom yngre barnen målade bakgrunden först och dom äldre barnen målade vårbilder ovanpå ... ett sätt att alla kan delta
some together paintings need a lot of collaboration... here the children are egg rolling... too steep and the egg breaks, not steep enough and the egg won't roll. We did many kinds of collaborative work with balls, magnets, and poles with paintbrushes dangling down.
vissa tillsammansmålningar kräver mycket samarbete - här barnen rulla ett ägg - för snabbt och ägget gå sönder, luta den för lite rulla ägget inte alls. Vi har gjort många samarbetskonstverk med bollar, magneter och skaft med en pensel som hänger från mitten...
back to turn taking and risk taking... this is just on a table to add flower prints to a big spring background... there have been artworks where children have taken it in turns to climb a step ladder and drop paint from up high... the children supporting and encouraging each other, as well as making sure that they are safe.
turtagning och risk - här står barnen på ett bord för att trycka blommor med toarullar på en vår bakgrund - man kan också klättra upp för en stege för att hälla ut färg (hur högt våga man klättra?) barnen stödja och uppmuntra varandra och ta ansvar att det är tryggt (men vi vuxna ta huvudansvaret självklart)

 So, as you see, there are VERY many ways that children can collaborate and paint together... and I have felt that the benefits are so worth the trouble. Yes, this style of working can get messy... both with paint everywhere, but also socially, as we are putting the children together in close proximity to experience new things... but what I observed is that the more the children were exposed to working together the better they got at it... and the easier it was to use these skills they learned in other play and social situations...

 This does not touch the collaborative nature of loose parts, or construction and other areas of learning... the focus of this post was on art.

Så, som du ser, finns det VÄLDIGT många sätt som barn kan samarbeta och måla ihop ... och jag tycker att fördelarna är så värda besväret. Ja, den här arbetsstilen kan bli rörig ... både med färg överallt men också socialt, eftersom vi sätter barnen nära varandra samtidigt som dom uppleva nya saker ... men det jag observerade är att ju mer barnen utsattes för att arbeta tillsammans desto bättre blir dom på att lösa problem osv ... och desto lättare var det att använda dessa färdigheter dom lärde sig i andra lek och sociala situationer ...

  Detta berör inte den samverkande karaktären av att leka med lösa delar (loose parts), eller konstruktion och andra områden av lärande ... fokuseringen av detta inlägg var - konst.