Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Curling Kandinsky style!!

The very same day that Britain made it to the curling final by beating Sweden (one of those win win situations for me) we had been curling our own way at Filosofiska...

The Kandinsky painting became the focus... which colour would we land on...

I explained to the children that I was going to experiment as I was not sure if ot would work... I took a piece of cardboard (from an old box) and a carboard lid... and I wafted the cardboard to move the lid... it took a LOT of work but it did begin to glide across the floor, but just couldn't lift onto the painting...

So I tried with a piece of paper... again it didn't work, so I tried again with tissue paper... and it worked!!

This was not one of those occasions for the children to solve the problem, this was one of those occasions where the children could see me try something out, it not working, the children seeing my disappointment and frustration but also my drive to test out something new... they got to see my strategy for failure and my strategy for not giving up but to continue to experiment and test things out until the small adjustments meant the curling game could work...

We then got going... the aim was to create wind with the cardboard to move the piece of snowy white tissue paper across the room and land on one of the circles and to discover which colour it landed on.

This was popular with all ages - 2 to 5 year olds. We then experimented more and started to blow with our mouths... one at a time and also in groups... there was a lot of laughing... children and teachers lying on their tummies... as I had to lie on my stomach to be able to take the photographs!!
They also experimented with different sizes of tissue paper - did it effect the speed that you blew it across the room or your ability to direct the paper?

Then we tested using the lid again (like a puck) with a plastic hockey stick... three hits each... with the aim with one strike to get it to land on the painting... we helped the children learn that failure was not a problem but an opportunity to learn... if the lid went to far then we had learned not to hit it so hard, if it did not reach the painting then we learned that we needed to hit it harder... some children needed to learn too hard, too soft to be able to get it JUST RIGHT.

It feels like this painting is going to remain on the floor instead of being rescued - so that the children can continue to play games with it... and hopefully create their own games too!

GB winning over Sweden and earning their place in the Olympic final

our Kandinsky inspired curling game

blowing - great for training up mouth muscles to support pronunciation

blowing in groups... this was FUN and FUNNY!!
using the hicket stick and taking aim... the lids came from the senior centre next door... they thought we could make good use of them... they were right about that!! (we got LOADS)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Kandinsky inspired art...

Yesterday I prepared the paper for our BIG Kandinsky inspired paiting which will also become a part of our Russian inspired curling game...

As I wrote yesterday when I linked up the first image on my facebook page and group...

"A HUGE Kandinsky inspired painting is on the floor... I have started it off and tomorrow our morning meeting will not be a philosophy session as usual, but a listening session using paints...
we will take it in turns to paint... just as we take it in turns to talk, and the aim is to stay within the line (or thereabouts - nothing too precise) just as we stay on topic in our philosophy sessions... and we will listen - to the instructions of what we are doing, and to each other for our choices of what colour we are using...

THEN when it is dry we are going to use the rings as part of a curling game... Winter Olympics meets Kandinsky!!"


This morning the children took the time to play on the dry art... it really inspired jumping...




 The session started by looking at some of Kandinsky's artwork and talking about him being an artist that come from Russia, the same country as one of our children...

The whole idea of listening and following instructions and talking about their choice of colour did not work EXACTLY as I would have hoped... we needed to scaffold the children's  ability to listen to the instructions and keep withing limits that extending it to explaining colour choice would be just too much... and the sheer size of the painting also meant it took time... this again not being always the best thing when children are waiting... we are still working on the skill of being able to take interest in what others are doing... its a process, its tricky and we need to work on it in a way that encourages the skill and not enforces it...

So the choice of colour part of the session was quickly abandoned... as that took time which the group did not have for each other... and doing it one at a time was also abandoned so that two circles could be painted simultaneously and therefore sustain interest better...

Sometimes you just have to be flexible ...

Some children found it VERY difficult to stay within the lines... the paint brush shooting off in random directions... this was not a normal art session, this was an opportunity to push the children skills a little, to help them learn to focus... not just for their art skills but also for their listening skills. It did NOT feel, though, that we were pushing the children beyond their capabilities - the reminders were gentle and well received, and there were no negative comments that they had done it wrong, just the reminders that we are trying to keep in the lines when the children started to lose their focus...

They took it in turns to do a ring of colour each... so the focus was never too long... and there were plenty of comments about how they enjoyed painting.

We also mixed some colours so that there was an opportunity to see the science of colour in action too...


everyone could paint in their own way... sitting, lying down, crouched... although lying down did make it hard to move around to reach the whole circle
mixing colours. And learning about how far an arm stretches, and when you need to move your body to be able to reach...
painting two at a time... not the aim, but was what we as teachers could hear when we listened to the children's needs in this activity.
the finished Kandinsky inspired floor art. Now it is just for it to dry and then the curling games can begin (and no doubt the children will think of their own play on this floor art)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Stone art... and a child's right to public spaces..

The children chose to go to the snail park again today ... and today they collaborated to find stones and collect them on one of the seven benches in the small garden. They worked hard and well looking for stones and lining them up in a slightly circular form...

We left it there as a piece of art...

Normally I am one for tidying up after us in a public space - but at the moment NO-ONE is using the benches because they are simply too cold to sit on,  and there are six other benches in close proximity if someone DID happen to want to sit on a bench (and the other ones were much sunnier).

I was a little saddened when I left work in the dark and saw an old man attacking the stones with his walking stick to knock them off... they were so obviously were left there by children, and were still in a beauitful pattern... but the man was in a BAD mood... enough to make me NOT want to approach him... although I wish I had done...

I know we would have returned and tidied up those stones - and probably done it in a way that allowed the stones to create a new work of art. BUT now the stones are all over the place... and the sound of the mans grunts of disapproval are etched in my brain... it makes me want to decorate the place more... especially after the children had not only collected stones but collected rubbish from the park/garden and thrown it away. This man had chosen to see children as a nuisance and not as the helpful and creative people that they are.

the stone collection/art

the snail park today (ACTUAL sunshine... its been a LONG time since we saw the sun!!!) I have marked where the benches are. Note the bench and birdbath in the middle.

this is the snail park in summer... it was different every week with new flowers dying and blooming and the vegetation growing so high... here the bench is hidden but you can just see the birdbath...
Where was this man's empathy? His understanding of childhood? Or is childhood so long ago that he cannot remember... or was his childhood so controlled that he never got to make art with stones - or was allowed to be "seen" in public?

One of the purposes of the "Together on the Square" project is to make the children more visible in public spaces - that children do not HAVE to be institutionalised in preschools - keeping to the premises and their yards with the occasional release on excursions.

We have no yard... so the public spaces ARE our spaces too... but it seems we cannot leave any traces... YET...

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Feather Painting with One year olds...

This week it was the turn of the one year olds to explore feather painting...

This was one of those times where I learned heaps about these three one year olds as they picked up their feathers and then used them a COMPLETELY different way from all the two year olds that have already feather painted...

One child picked his feather up and started to use the point - like a quill to scratch out patterns on his paper... the other two one year olds observed a moment, picked up their feathers and then also used them like a quill.

I saw a bit of frustration on the first child's face as it was not a techniques that created a lot of colour and impact on the paper... so encouraged him to use the other end of his feather to scoop up paint, which he did with a swish... and the other two followed...

Then they all switched back to the point again... It DID make a better noise, and I guess that noise must have sent a vibration up the arm too - so it might have had a better sensory feel.

None of the children were too interested in mixing up the colours in the box of paint like all the two year olds had - the focus was on dipping and then scratching on the paper...

Two of the children finished quite quickly while the third explored the feather and the paint on his hands for some time longer...

At first I thought these children did not get much out of this paint session, but when I look back at the photographs it is quite clear that they are focussed on what they are doing. It was also clear that they were learning much more from this session than what I first thought...

The next sessions for the Himlen group and their Bird Project will be a piece of art that they will all contribute to in different ways... now that I have met the children in the atelier I can better see how I can meet their needs and interests...
so stayed tuned for more bird explorations in the atelier...




More clay with 2 year olds...

This was the first session where one of the two years did not just stare at the clay first and need my encouragement to start... this child explored straight away, while the other two watched.
Interestingly this child also finished exploring the clay quickly too - in fact I was really surprised because so far the clay has been a real concentration holder and social binder... but this child poked, prodded, pulled off a few chunks, smelled the clay and lay his forehead against the clay and then stood up and watched the others a few moments before deciding to go off and do something else...

The two children who observed first then explored for a long time, testing various techniques out... and were the first of the sessions to explore with their feet... after feeling the clay with their feet and commenting that it was cold they then started to put small pieces of clay on their feet and between their toes...

There was not the same social story telling in this session but there was plenty of copying each other as they tried out something new, and there was not one child that followed the other, but both inspired each other...

There are three sets of twins in Molnet - and they have all been put in separate small groups to work in the atelier on Thursday afternoons... this was the first time I have got to observe the other half of a twin set... and I have to admit there have been a few similarities... enough to make me wonder if, this coming week, when the other halves of the two remaining twin sets explore the clay if they will react in a similar way to their twin...

Having twins of my own probably makes me a little more curious about this sort of thing... I have always worked hard to ensure that my girls have seen themselves as two individuals who are twins and not as twins. I can see similarities and differences in my girls (who are now 13) - they are identical twins, so many others DO get them confused. Of the three sets in Molnet two of them are identical... in the preschool total there are four sets of twins - with another set of fraternal twins in Himlen. It means we have a lot of twins for a preschool of 35 children... but now I have left the subject of clay!!

So why not enjoy the images below...




Saturday, 15 February 2014

the light table

The light table hasn't been a big draw for the children for a while... it's just been there and has not really been used... so i thought I would start playing with it a little to see what would happen... and of course children came to the table...
I changed some of the materials as i could see that the children could not create with them the way they wanted too... so geometric shapes and hair curlers came out instead...

I also feel that the table that the light table sits on is not ideal... but this area is still very much under development, and I know the table is temporary, but it can be part of the reason why the table has not been used so much... it does not allow for good collaboration... it has a slightly 8 form which means one child can get that bit closer to the table and gets a very central role... this means that children on the edges feel a little frustrated and give up after a while, leaving the one child to play on their own... and some enjoy a spot of individual play, but most are wanting/needing a more socially interactive play.

I also see how role-play is central in their free-play at the moment... so it might be time to recreate a small world play area on the light table again... to see if that will encourage more play... OR to simply move the light table into another room for a while and allow the geometric shapes to form patterns in a different location... to be honest, I am thinking this latter idea might be the better of the two... will have to check where all the outlets are located...

the geometric shapes came out first... I saw there was an interest in both creating patterns/shapes and also in mixing colours. I also so one child lacked the co-ordination skills to create patterns as they kept bumping each other out of the way.., whci is why i brought out the curlers too...

curlers are fun as they do have a kind of velcro like sticking quality AND they feel so great in the hands...

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

more , yes, more Together Painting...

This one will be mostly photos...
BUT
I did try out blowing through the straw painting yesterday - it wasn't easier to make a splatter, but the children were thrilled when they could manage it as they focused their breath in a big sput-like blow down the straw (which had to be dipped at an angle to sort of scoop the paint inside the straw for it to work...)


Then I took this painting down to dry and put up some more paper directly... as the children were obviously interested in painting with their hands still...

I put blue white and black on a tray - for three children to do hand painting 2x4yr olds and 1x3yr old. The instructions was to first try mixing on the paper and then to let them loose... but within a milisecond one child had mixed it all up and I needed to remind - "I know its tempting, but do you remember that we were starting by mixing on the paper first so that you could choose colours if you wanted?" Mixing on the tray was a favourite part of the process - and patterns and art could also be created on the tray... so if you are thinking of a nice messy activity to learn colour mixing... why not set out a few trays with several colours on for the children just to blend and mix and get creative... if they scratch patterns you could lift the art off with a print...

a few handprints were made... but the main aim of this sessions seemed to be movement ... and lots of it...
I saw that this was going to be a very grey creation... the three year old stopped after a while, but I had expected this, as this child seldom paint for long... but does paint a little longer each time...
the scratching technique from the day before was used before - this time with a tiger story-line...
The painting ended being a grey mass... perfect to start today with a splash of colour - and the most children painting at the same time... 5 children at once... 3x2 year olds, 1x3 year old and 1x4 year old.

the brushes were back out - and orange, yellow, red, white and pink were on offer...
two of the 2 year olds started to explore with their hands (none of the others did)
and explore up their arms... i remember my group of 3-4 year olds doing this all the time last year... their need to explore paint on their bodies is not the same now... they were given the time to do all the exploring they needed... and now they want to explore other things... but for these two year olds... their explorations are just getting going...
they also started to scratch the paper too - and were fascinated by how their nails filled with paint and paper fibres...
No finished image I am afraid... I was working until my last second with the creativity and clean up - so you will have to waiti until i take a photograph tomorrow.

We are starting to collect quite a few together paintings now... so my brain is beginning to think about how can these be displayed or upcycled?

Monday, 10 February 2014

More together painting...

Yesterday I posted on my facebook page about last week's new "Together" painting ( you can see that here...) where we had focused on purple and white, but a misunderstanding of what colours were called involved the introduction of pink and red too to help with understanding...

Then we painted with green, yellow and blue with feathers..

Today the colour choices were green, blue, yellow and white and each child could choose two colour to have in their pot... some kept it half and half for a while so they could choose colour while others went for the big mix straight away...

The first 30 minutes there were 3 children... a 2 yr old and two 3 yr olds. They had all chosen their paint brushes themselves and after a while I could see the 2 yr old was struggling with her long thin brush and said "I see that you are finding it tricky to paint the way you want to, I recommend choosing one of these three brushes and see if that makes it easier" - I showed her three thicker brushes with shorter handles... each slightly different. She made her choice and her painting became much easier... in fact if I had not known that she had just been to the toilet I would have asked if she needed to go... as she danced the whole time with excitement at being able to paint so big - jumping to reach the top and sitting on the floor to paint low low down...

The I went off to a meeting and the painting was put on pause as there was no teacher availbale to be in the atelier with them... I let them know they would be welcome to come back when I returned... they all thought this was quite acceptable...


When I returned I scooped up a four year old that was struggling with her social interactions and asked if she wanted to come and paint instead... yes... and immediately she found her calm as well as an outlet for her energy (if that makes sense).
Two of the others returned to painting eagerly trotting after me the moment they saw me!! The big atelier was open for another half hour before needing to close for the day. BUT this was ample time for these children to explore the paint and the paper to near disintegration...

They tried out a variety of styles and techniques... spirals, circles, lines - mixing colours. Then I noticed that when they used their brush quite hard a bit of the original purples and pinks came through. My finger, curious, had to just run through the paint and check... yes - a new kind of painting technique could be done today... the four year old snapped up the idea directly... the other two looked at me and asked "can we use our hands?" - "yes, of course - just roll up yur sleeves a bit more"...

NOW the paper was being attacked - a full body art experience - scratching, rubbing arms waving wildly - and then they noticed how much paint they had on their hands... "what do we do with this" "Try making prints..." and so they started banging out prints too...

They scooped out paint from the pots and slapped on some more - three children busy with their own areas watching each other, laughing and thoroughly enjoying the experience...


The finished art of as today... I was thinking of taking it down and putting up new paper to do a hand only painting... but now that I look at it I find it is telling me to add more colour... but stamping or splatter... in my head now has come the idea of dipping th end of a straw in paint and then blowing out splashes onto the green... would be could for mouth muscle training and therefore pronunciation... (might have to give it a try first to see if it works...)



Next week the Together painting is going to be rings rings ring - as we are having and Olympic and Russia theme next week to celebrate one of our children that comes from there...


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Clay and three-five year olds.

On Wednesday mornings our group of eleven 3-5 year olds gets divided into two groups - one group is working in the Blue Room (movement) where we are experimenting with how philsophy can be done in motion... and the other half is in the atelier with me where we are reflecting together about clay.

This was the first time this group have come in contact with REAL clay. I cut square slabs for each and placed them on a tile... suddenly realising that I left my camera in my bag... so I wondered if I could "test" them a little... could they resist touching the clay until I returned... 30 seconds later I could see the temptation had been far too much - each square of clay had one or more finger prints decorating the surface...

We giggled together about how it was much too exciting to wait and the children were given free hands to explore the clay. Unlike the 2 year olds these 3-5 year olds were less cautious about exploring a new material and did not need any encouragement to get going.
Several times I was asked "when are we going to make the sculpture?" as the claywork will eventually end up becoming a continuation of the project based on the artwork we have observed in the Senior Centre next door to us.

this is step 2 - the first step was choosing which part of the artwork was their favourite - and why, this step was drawing their choice. The final step being making a clay model of it...
Once they got used to the idea that this session... and the next few sessions was dedicated to exploring the clay they could turn their energies to messing about with the clay and testing its properties.
One of the children said that this was so much fun and that "we always do such exciting things at preschool" - another child was quick to pint out that "sometimes you say you don't want to come to preschool" - and there began a dialogue about how we can feel different about things on different days and even on the same day.

As the children worked I took out their logbooks and asked them about their first impressions of working with clay - and also asking the others whether they agreed with their reflections. This is part of the process of seeing their own ideas and listening to other's ideas and reflecting upon how these are similar or not with their own experience/knowledge.

Next week will be another play session without tools and the week after tools will be introduced

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

lining-up

Last September I wrote a post called "Scaffolding" about the need for rules and my interpretation/understanding of what rules are and how they should be used to support children rather than control children.

Yesterday I was reading about lining-up... and it got me reflecting again... as there was someone who wrote that they never line up - "that why should children line up when adults never do?"
Which of course made me react... because when I lived in the UK I used to line up a lot (and this was someone from the UK that made the comment) and even here in Sweden we line up... and when I was in USA last year people were lining up... and when I lived in Australia we lined up... buying food, getting on the bus... etc

So I felt that this was not a good argument to use for children not lining up...

I do remember the school bus in UK where there were about 200 teenagers all trying to get on the bus at the same time... no lining up... I also remember how incredibly stressful taking the bus HOME was all 200 children trying to get on the bus at the same time (I was grateful for being tall... it meant my head was above the crowd and I could both breathe and SEE what was happening - my shorter friends would disappear... and of course school bags got trapped behind someone else and suddenly you had one foot on the bus but couldn't get on because your bag was trapped behind someone else which made the whole confusion worse and everyone started pushing harder and squeezing more in desparation to get on the bus...) - getting there from all our different locations was much easier...

The children I work with now line up... not much and not for long, but just so that transitions work.

When we come inside again the children sit and wait by the documentation wall (and digital frame) that they can look at and reflect upon and they talk about what they have been doing... and at the moment they play with their feet a great deal. When everyone is ready we line up and walk to the washroom to wash hands before lunch... BEFORE we did not line up at all... BEFORE the children were free to go and wash their hands when they were ready... BEFORE there were tears every day as they were all trying to come first and it was the same three big loud children that pushed the others out of the way that could achieve this. There was no equality, there was little respect and there was little consideration. AND no matter how we talked about WITH the children and they suggested ideas of what we could do... they could not actually perform their own suggestions... they were not practiced enough.

I understand that there is a NEED to come first. It is important, and just about every group of 3-5 year olds go through this incredible need to be first... This could be their need to feel the best at something, to feel good. THEN it is even more important that we can allow EVERYONE to feel good if they want to... and NOT just the ones that are big enough, strong enough and loud enough to be first.

Yesterday (before reading any of this about lining up) we had ANOTHER chat about lining up. Reminding the children about how it used to be, and Ellen and I even role-played how they used to pull, shove and push each other and scream at each other and then cry so that they could be first... and then asked the children how we should resolve the problem... "take it in turns to be leader" was their answer.

So we asked them if they are happy with this taking of turns at being leader and the 5-10 minutes of each day (6:30-18:00) that we line up during our big transitions. They said yes it was better now.

And yes there are days that some children can not line up "properly" and that does not mean lining up perfectly but that they are pushing and shoving and being inconsiderate... and I think this is all a part of a process for these 3-5 year olds... they are learning about being me/we relationship.

The children seriously challenged me a few weeks ago after almost 3 weeks with a series of substitute teachers coming in and out (and some of the children being apparently very rude too - calling them names etc) and they raised the question that I was telling them what to do all the time... so we sat down and talked about it...

Do you want me to help when someone hits you... do you expect me to stay stop?
Do you want me to help you stay safe when we go on excursions?

all my questions the children said yes...
Then I asked when I tell you something have you noticed that what I am doing is trying to create an environment that allows you to play safely, that in fact I am not deciding over you, but that I am listening to what YOU all want and trying to help create that - that in fact I am the voice of the group?

The children listened, they accepted and they agreed... a little later, one of the children challenged me one more time by deliberately breaking the rule to provoke me... so I looked at her and said calmly... I see you feel the need to challenge me as the adult again... but remember I am not saying these things because I am the adult, I am saying these things because you and your friends decided that these were good rules to have to be able to have fun and be safe... do you not want to follow the rules?"
"NO" said a defiant voice
"Then what are we going to do... because in Vinden we all want to play safe, rest peacefully and have fun together... and the rules allow us to do that... do you not want to be a part of this group?"
"Yes"
"Then we need to respect the rules that you and your friends have just agreed upon half an hour ago"
There was a pause... (my mind was wondering... have I pushed this too far...) and she replied calmly that she would play safe, rest calmly etc as she realised that it was not ME that was imposing the rules but that I was supporting the group's needs... she just needed to check one more time...

Anyway... back to standing in line...

last week I saw that the children made their own line in the middle of play... I even braved the cold to take my mittens off and take a photo - as this was the first time... they are realising the benefits of having a little patience and lining up... they ALL get to have fun... and no-one gets hurt (phyically or emotionally) by the pushing, shoving and shouting.


BUT would the children have been able to do this if we had not given them the structure?... given them the tools? AND discussed WHY we line up? the purpose behind it all?... because they understood why we line up, they were able to apply it to their own play...

Monday, 3 February 2014

From 2D map to 3D map... and all the skills needed for THAT

I knew that today would be a challenge... as we were introducing a new technique for these children... the concept of interpreting maps, and the idea of interpreting the 2D map into a 3D creation...

We showed the WHOLE group the two maps to the same place... as two children live on the same "yard/garden". The children were quick to notice that they were different and also point out that they were different because we have different ways of seeing things (yeah!!!!  SO HAPPY to hear a child say that).

We then divied into two groups where each group had a map to look at, try tocomprehend and try to construct using blocks... hahahahaha

I laugh now, but at the time it was HARD WORK. There were three HUGE elements the children were learning (and we knew this WOULD be a challenge) - firstly the idea of maps representing real life... secondly working out how to make the 2D image into a 3D creation and thirdly (and most importantly) how to collaborate...

I knew when I met the eyes of Ellen afterwards that we had pretty much the same sort of OMG experience. It was INTENSE. SO many ideas for the children to digest at once - and put that together with a child in each group either having limited language for various reasons then it made it even more of a challenge as everything needed to be explained and explained and explained.

BUT we knew this going into it... but still it hits you like a freight train when you challenge the children maybe a little more than they are used to... yes we challenge, but maybe not quite this big a step... it was not out of range, but it DID require more support than usual. The aim being that when the children come to design their own square they are competent in their thinking about how their idea and real life can be reperesented in 2D and also how this then can be built three dimensionally. We are building on the children's SKILLS right now... we do not expect them to be able to do this.... we are pushing themselves (and maybe ourselves too) out of our comfort zone... but this is something we will do for the next 5 weeks. We have time to practice (thank goodness) not only the children, but also how we communicate all of this... we will get better together. Whether the five weeks is enough time... I don't know... BUT it will give them the chance to experience a new way of looking at things and hopefully ease their process of communicating their ideas about the square...

Put it this way... we had paper ready to document quotes... it remained empty at the end of the session... and as you will see just about all the photos are taken AFTERWARDS as we had to be actively invloved with the children...



here are the logbooks... well one of them... I have sat today and worked on them to get them a little up to date... well enough to be able to continue with anyway... In the future they will contain more meta-dialogues so that the children can reflect upon what we have done and we can write them WITH the children. ALSO there will be these moments where we write up from the project book where we write up all sorts of documentation... philosophy dialogues, project dialogues... and some of our own thoughts too... these entries in their log books are lifted from the Project Documentation book and are an opportunity to show the children's thinking as we explore the various play spaces near to us...

Sunday, 2 February 2014

log books

After an inspiring week listening to others share their experiences of philosophy with children I have thought of putting one of the ideas to the test... Beate Børresen recommended log books for each of the children.

So now I am going to have a go... not in the exact way that was suggested, just a little adapted but keeping the essentials of documenting the children's ideas in context of the group.

I am fortunate because Beate is just an e-mail away, even if she is in Oslo... so that I can bounce ideas with her at the same time as getting feedback I can share what we are doing... as this is with children a little younger than what she usually does log books with... so it is an experiment for sure.

My biggest concern going into it is - do I have enough time to do this? I am hoping that the children will be so motivated by their log books that they will sit with me as I fill in their words and ideas together with images - photos etc of the project.

The log books will be project based rather than philosophy based - but more than that I cannot say... as I think that these log books will develop together with me and the children...

Tomorrow we start with the maps that the children have been drawing with their parents (linking preschool with home) - the maps show the way to their home from preschool - or the way to preschool from their home... depending on your perspective...

Tomorrow we will work with two of the maps... the two that lead to more or less the same place... and the children will work in two groups and build their map with blocks and use wool/thread to mark the route they take - they will then look at each other's contructions and compare with the maps... There will be lots of teacher support... as what we aim to do is share the skill of designing... from working from a 2D design to a 3D design so that when it comes to designing their own square later in the term, they will have the tools to do that...


So a bit excited and a bit nervous all at the same time...


Masking tape road...

The boys have been playing with their remote controlled cars... to extend the play I got the masking tape out and created a road on the floor (using two rooms no less) and also with secret ways as intructed by Michael...

Now they have to control their cars in a totally different way...

from one room to another (and past the chair that I write this very blog)

into the living room...

Listening without words

Yet again I am fascinated by the fact the language of play is so much stronger than the spoken language.
We have welcomed friends from Berlin into our home... godfather to Michael and his child. The two boys have four languages between them but no common language and yet they play and communicate with each other - and have been doing for the last four hours... no words, just sounds and body language and play.

I have seen  children get frustrated when they are unable to communicate in the language that others are communicating in... but here there is no frustration and my reflection is that when one child feels excluded because the others are relying on the spoken word then there will be frustration.. but when there is INCLUSION because the children HAVE to communicate in the same way - relying on other languages then there is not the same frustration... in fact they are starting to pick out each others language a little - BUT feel most comfortable with their sounds and body language communication. It will be interesting to see how this communication will develop over the week that they stay with us...

Do we lose some of our languages when we start with the spoken word? Do we forget how to listen with more than just our ears? Frances Pockman Hawkins in "The Logic of Action" (Lek och Lära: Barns inlärning genom logisk utforskande aktivitiet. 1976) wrote about her experience of observing and working with deaf four year olds... that there is the language of action - our first language before we master words (OK I am translating this from Swedish, so I might not be using the exact way she phrases things). She writes that teachers working with young children NEED to have this ability to understand not only preverbal children but also as they start to develop their spoken language - and that if we do not exercise this "action language" then we have a kind of deafness. Later on she writes about the language of photography as yet another method of communication.

Listening really is something that fascinates me... my ability to listen to children, to colleagues - to all those around me... and also my ability to scaffold the children's ability to listen to others...

hehe - I have been having a little fun with the photograph... BUT the language of this photo is saying - that we need to listen MORE - not just with our ears... but with our whole being... universal listening is not just to words...