after reading the ever inspirational and great blog jelly baby blog and what Jo has been up to i became inspired. Jo had found a blog called the artful parent. what a great blog, lots of fantastic ideas, interviews and information about creativity and art with children. my philosophy is that creativity and art are such important tools for us all to use. it happens so easily for children, its natural, its part of who they are, there are no negative thoughts ( or there shouldn't be) its just part of their expressing and making sense of the world around them, art is such an easy way for them to express what is going on, rather than stumbling, not knowing or finding the right words, a drawing, painting or sculpture can express it all -:: their thoughts, ideas, worries, experiences :: life.
i sat down to think of things that i could do with Hugo and Archie.
instantly i remembered a favourite activity that the children i taught loved :: you take a normal cheap glossy white bathroom/kitchen tile. the children roller paint over the surface and then using a cotton bud draw in the paint. when finished you put a piece of paper over the tile give it a rub and hey presto a print !! the instant result provides big smiles and continuous amounts of prints being made :: instant gratification.
these 2 photos are examples that Hugo had done last year. we took it another step by drawing on to the print as well as doing a second print over the top in another colour.
after reading JO's post it made me stop and think. i will digress now and explain my delima.
i have deliberated and deliberated most of the year about what i want for Hugo next year. he is a January baby and young in his peers. i always said that i would give him another year before he starts school and he is enrolled in a Pre Prep programme, (where i used to teach) for next year. this prog is full time 5 days a week and the children have a play based program to learn within as well as specialist lessons including swimming music library art and pmp. i was so excited that he could go, rapt that he would do and experience activities and events that children i had taught experienced, excited that two fantastic colleagues of mine would take him under their wings and give him the best possible start to his education. that was until last month when all of a sudden my little quiet shy reserved boy changed, he spoke to strangers he answered questions he looked people in the eye, he engaged. everything started to come together. and then i thought and looked at our environment, the small hamlet/suburb area we live in that is unique and special where it feels like a town where people know you and your children... i looked at the peer group and what a great year it is a healthy mix of boys and girls and all generally great kids with great families and then i started to think, i take him away for a year to give him the pre prep experience when he comes back to our area he will be in a different peer level and ALL his friends are above him at school, it didn't seem right. but "he has to go to Pre Prep" kept going through my head and then i thought maybe its because i want him to have all the experiences i gave 100's of kids maybe it was the romantic notion of him experiencing all the wonderful arty and cultural experiences that i had done with other children. and then i thought outside the square i was in. so why can't i give him that just here, here in our house, here at home. and then it was like this huge weight lifted. so that's what we have done, at this stage. i went to the local primary school got an enrolment form and filled it in. at this satge this is where we are headed. i have tme to play and continue to observe, but i think i have made my decision and i fell happy and a part of my home town. and i really hope its the right decision, as i know boys mature socially and emotionally later but if cracks start to appear in a few years i had always thought that i would move him to an independent school in grade 5 so we just do that year level twice at 2 schools.
so it was quite timely reading Jo's post about art with children as i plan on setting up 1-2 experiences each day, one that stays the same for the week, that he can come and revisit time and time again, and one that is new and exciting each day. as the weather improves , lots of journal recording outside in the garden.
so i need to be diligent on this challenge and make it happen for both of us. the Television goes off !! and the art experiences start now.
lots of reading, drawing, painting, clay, modelling, wire collage all experiences to represent knowledge, thoughts and ideas .
as i have sat and reflected i remembered this poem by Lois Malaguzzi, founder of Reggio Emilia philosophy of education, the way i encouraged the children i taught.
is made of one hundred.
The child has a hundred languages
a hundred hands a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinkingof playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred ways of listening of marvelling, of loving
a hundred joys for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds to discover a hundred worlds to invent
a hundred worlds to dream.
The child has a hundred languages(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:to think without hands to do
without head to listen and not to speak to understand without joy
to love and to marvelonly at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child : to discover the world already there
and of the hundred they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:that work and play
reality and fantasy science and imagination
sky and earth reason and dream are things
that do not belong together.
And thus they tell the child that the hundred is not there.
The child says: No way. The hundred is there.
(translated by Lella Gandini)