Our Week in the Forest...
There is something very special about the spontaneous magic that happens in Little Forest Folk when children encounter expressive art and design resources that have been presented in a way that allows them to tinker and create whatever they like. With some warmer temperatures arriving in the forest this week, the children returned to base camp to discover blocks of clay, wooden pegs, swatches of fabric, yarns of every colour, spools of twine, scissors, card and googly eyes! With so much choice and so little direction from educators, it was not long before it looked like chaos as children wanted to touch all the resources, keeping some items, discarding others, talking aloud about what they were going to make and then changing their minds. While educators in traditional classrooms may have popped a blood vessel at the sight of the mess and noise of children thinking aloud, our educators understand that this is all part of the creative process - wasn't it Pablo Picasso who said, "Every act of creation begins with an act of destruction?”.
However, it wasn't long before the focus changed and children took their items to their chosen space and set about creating. A small group of children assembled together as they wanted to make puppets. They rolled handfuls of clay into balls and some attached these as heads onto wooden pegs whilst others used the clay as a body for which sticks became limbs. Our children had very clear views regarding the specifications of their puppet "mine has blue hair and she will wear a dress from this material". The children were also very determined to be as independent in joining materials together and educators could see a real sense of ownership. There were also some beautiful examples of children testing ideas, not liking the result and then experimenting with solutions in order to problem solve…one little girl attached a pipe cleaner to the puppets head to represent hair and didn't like that the pipe cleaner was straight "but she is meant to have curly hair like me!". The child was quick to detach the pipe cleaner from the puppets head, took a moment to think and then proceeded to wrap it in a spiral around her finger, carefully pulling the spiral off and being absolutely delighted with herself when the puppet ended up with a head of furry blue curls!
What was delightful was watching the communication that happened when children then started using their puppets to interact with other puppets as they put on different voices and stepped outside of themselves to create a new personality and story for their puppet. Puppets have a wonderful benefit in that they help some children overcome barriers to communication and find it easier conversing through the puppet and we saw that with two children who sat with one another - initially using their puppets to talk to one another, and gradually the puppets became less and less involved until you just had two children who had bonded having had a really in-depth conversation with one another about how much they love the chilli con carne!
There was also a big buzz around designing jet packs...real ones! Children have huddled around Abbey with their design paper and pencils sketching ideas and talking to one another about how theirs will look, what it will be made from and thinking of ways they are actually going to make it lift something up. We are going to follow these designs through into creation next week and we believe this will involve some messy experimentation with bottles of fizzy drink and Mentos...watch this space!
Have a lovely weekend everyone!
Little Forest Folk