Monday, 31 March 2014

Reflections on the new design

I haven't brought the project book home... so I will have to go from memory... and there has been a lot of reflection today... with the children, by the children and amongst us teachers too in our planning/reflection this afternoon...

The children were happy with the new design... there was a great deal of excitiment... they could see all the things that they had been talking about... and could answer easily one of the questions asked by the children at Richland Academy in Canada...

"we thought up all the things, all the ideas and Suzanne wrote them down and then she put them all on the photograph"

You could see there was great satisfaction that we had created this design from THEIR ideas.

My memories of this morning are too vague.. and I want to get it right... so I will leave their ponderings of the design and share their excitement that other children had seen their previous photo design... and amazement that children so far away were interested in them... and that they ALL spoke English and not Swedish. We looked at the map, and saw that there had been children from Ontario that had celebrated The International Fairy Tea Party last September... were these the same children they wondered.... ? There was great curiousity about the age and the names and what they looked like... just as we had seen that the PK children at Richland Academy had the same curiousity about us...

We played outside on the Square, pretending that everything was already there... pretending there was water to swim in, a castle to climb and big fountains splashing... then it was time to mix gravel, old autumn leaves (apparantly mushrooms), some grass and puddle water to create snail soup (I did check to make sure there were no lives ones in there... but it was all imagination!!)

During snack we prepared the children that we would Ellen, Emma and I would be planning/reflecting and asked if they knew what we did then? They had no idea... so i told them that we asked ourselves three questions...
  • what are the children busy doing/preoccupied with?
  • How can we meet/support this?
  • What are our reflections?
So the first question we started WITH the children... did THEY know what they were preoccupied with... many of the children shared their experiences from home... which is maybe not so surprising on a Monday when they have spent the weekend at home... but there were a few answers about what we were up to at preschool and most of them were things that we had seen too... some of them were made up on the spot... like "my foot" because a child had been working on putting on their sock!! Which, yes the child was pre-occupied with that... but only for less than a minute!!

We felt that the project "Together on the Square" had been a little fuel injected today with the enthusiasm the children had seeing their ideas on the photograph. We will be taking in plasters and things for the role-play tomorrow... I have a bunch of brightly coloured ones in front of me right now that I bought when my son was small, but he refused point blank to have anything so colourful to remind him that he had hurt himself (the complete opposite of his sisters who LOVED all the animal shaped plasters and Disney plasters). This will help us follow up the children's interest in mending hurts and problems with plasters... and we will see where it takes us and how to continue supporting that...

Tomorrow we will have another philosophy session with an adapted story so that no-one gets hurt, only frustrated that they can't get past all the "attractions" on the new square. Will this provoke thought about making adaptions? We already started talking about this as we saw people with prams, bikes and also wheelchairs going by... and we asked how would they get past if the square was full of water, castles and others things blocking the way? One child mentioned a short-cut, another talked about a tunnel and yet another mentioned that a rucksack with new dry clothes should be carried by everyone so that when they got wet by walking through the water they could get changed into something dry!!

This week in the afternoons the children will get the chance to cut out ideas and glue them onto an image of the square that they have already been working on (well most of them... those that took an interest) - this the children seemed very excited by. Next week we plan to start plotting out a more to-scale" design... using the childrens new found knowledge and skills of map-making and building based on them... two months we have been slowly building up to this... I feel so happy it was not rushed, that we took out time, and that the children are no ready to be competent in their designing of the square... of course doing things to scale will require more scaffolding from us...

AND next week's philosophy session will be about "what is important" to them ? As the "Through the Eyes of the Child" project kicks off in earnest. We have reflected on how we want to approach this... and felt that we want to get the children thinking about what is important to them so that they are making a concsious decision about what they want to take a photograph of, and how they want to communicate what is important to them through the language of photography... so a week of dialogue BEFORE we get clicking... then a week of clicking.... then a week of dialogue about the actual photographs and which photograph the children in Vinden will select as theirs to be uploaded onto the project to be shared with others around the world!!


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