Saturday, 28 June 2014

Thinking about quotes...

On Sunday's I have started posting quotes on my facebook page... I find it useful looking for quotes that inspire me, or get me thinking... and then sharing them... the best ones are those that get you thinking ...

On twitter today I came across this quote...
"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are" twittered by Philosophy Tweets.

It not only applies to myself... that I should be me... but also how can provide a learning environment that allows children to be themselves, to develop, learn, expand, play, challenge etc in their own way... the way they feel most comfortable with - the way that they will learn best. Being themselves being relaxed, being open to learning - because if children are tense/stressed then they are less likely able to absorb the learning potential of the play and activities, of life around them...

Tomorrow is Sunday... I wonder what quote it will be then? I have a feeling it will be connected to nature - as I have been watching my children play in nature all week...

and if you have seen my son's documentation of our time in Boulder... then head over to . ...his blog

Observing...

Having time off from preschool life gives me time to watch my own children, which helps me understand another layer of play.

I watch how my two teenagers are more reluctant to start playing... but always end up playing anyway... in the fountains on Pearl Street, here in Boulder, and at the playspaces we have been visiting... and of course making dams in the creek. I guess it is the time when they are trying to work out if they are too old for play... and giving children time, even big children like my own, enough time, then they will start to play (when they don't have their noses in a book!!).



Michael is play personified. His appetite for play is enormous. And anything that does not look like play is automatically boring... for him, he needs time to see play in things he becomes blinded to in his first judgement...

I have also learned more about how when there is no goal in sight it becomes hard to almost impossible for Michael to focus, to channel his energy into completing a task... we have been doing some small hikes... and this means walking in hot weather and at high altitude - something that has been a bit strange for all of us... but has been overwhelming at times for Michael. But today when we were at Red Rock Amphitheatre I saw a switch... he went from not being able to walk a step more and just give up and lie down, when he did not know how far was left... to being able to virtually run up the amphitheatre stairs when he saw the top... it was amazing.
But it really does show the diversity of children... some children do need clear goals to be able to motivate themselves... would he be deemed lazy by others if the goal was not clear and he gave up? Of course for me, as a parent, I feel I need to support him to find that inner strength to persevere even when the goal is not visible - and to find ways to make goals more visible.

Now can I apply all of this new knowledge to my preschool work... looking for those children who do need clear goals to help motivate them. And also to make sure I give play enough time. It always comes back to time doesn't it...?

Sunday, 22 June 2014

2014 so far...

A quick visual look at my year so far...

The atelier has been under devlopment throughout the year. It didn't quite look as tidy as this when I left it... it has been well used for sure.

at the start of the year there was a lot of beads, and pattern making.

and beads on wire too...

but without a shadow of a doubt it has been the Together Paintings that have been central to the atelier this term.

They started off in black and white - and with just two children at a time... and it slowly built up

feather painting... one of the ways to try and encourage all groups in the atelier and not just the children I usually work with...

As part of the Together on the Square project - we started off with maps... drawing maps with parents at home, then building them with blocks and then following the map to the children's front doors. This was a much appreciated part of the project. the children LOVED sharing their homes with each other (or at least the front door) - and it really did give them a good base in how to design and build their own ideas...

Valentine's Day was not celebrated with just pink and hearts... but by asking the children what they thought love was, how it is represented and what is friendship.

there has been various kinds of claywork in the atelier... from just experiemnting to creating their own works of art inspired by local art...

the together paitings got colourful, and hands on... and children from all groups started to participate.

the snail park continued to be a place of discovery... always something to find, even when the ground was hard... stones could be used to create art...

art has been used as a way to practice listening skills... not just as an expression of creativity. Art has also been a way to learn more about different cultures... here we were learning about Russia.

construction... the magnetic tiles have been a firm favourite with all the children

and if the children start blwoing bubbles in the lunch milk... then there was time to blow bubbles freely at an appropriate time... that allowed for fun... AND allowed for the children to eat their lunch...

the atelier has been a place of experiments... of trying out new techniques... and teacher and child not always being sure if they are going to work...

Together paintings got upcycled - and friendship was drawn. Togetherness

and after lots of colourful Together paintings we returned to black and white again

Sleeping Beauty became an interest... and lots of castles/palaces were being drawn... but what IS a castle/palace? We looked at lots of images from around the world... we even visited the Royal Palace in the Old Town - and asked a guard if Sleeping Beauty lived there...

the children have worked TOGETHER to solve all sorts of problems - of how to use play equipment without adult help...

We have particiapted in the photo project "Though the Eyes of the Child" which allowed the children to become familiar with using a camera... and to think about what is important to them, and why.

the clay art got finished after several months of playing and experimenting with the medium first.

winter was short and not at all as we had expected... we had the odd cold week, and the odd day of snow... but on the whole it was far too mild to do the ice sculpture part of the Together on the Square project... but I guess that is there for another year...

the library got a make-over... and over summer the wall is going to be knocked down and the room will be made bigger and turned into a library/philosophy room.... this will be my area of the preschool to develop in the first few months (although I have to admit I am a little sad to leave the atelier... the idea of a new challenge sounds fun too)

by listening to the children, and messing about with picmonkey... I created a dream square for the children...

it caused great excitement, but they wanted to refine their ideas...

we had a visit from Clown Manne - and we learned circus tricks... which we took out onto the square and performed for passers by...

adding lights to the tiles allowed the play to change... Its so much fun to add new things every once in a while... and just have them out for a short time, to influence the children's play...

we had a Pyjama Party... in response to the children trying to exclude others by saying the classic "you can't come to my party then" - so we INCLUDED everyone with a party at preschool!

art inspired by the art in the Square

a different kind of Together painting - rolling eggs in paint on a tay in pairs... this requires the children to listen to each other with eyes and ears and their bodies...

this was the image created from listening to the parents and the children interviewing the pensioners at the sheltered housing next door...

A together painting OUT on the square...

messing about with paper...

exploration of wind and balloons together... how can we make everyone feel included... especially when it is so exciting?

Journey to Toronto, Canada... to share what I have been learning at my work at Filosofiska - and also to learn from others... and a wonderful stay with my inspiring host Diane Kashin. Many many thanks to her

of course the Snail Park would not be complete without at least one photo of the snails...


Filosofiska was part of the "Good Example Fair" - where we shared our way of working with children with others...

National Preschool day... lots of hands on activities outdoors in the square... linking to the projects we have been doing all term...


clay to play with... and since there was water for water painting, lots ended up on the clay... it was VERY wet and gooey!

time to just appreciate nature

understanding perspective... that we can all look at the same thing but see something different... and how do we know it has four legs when we can only see two of them?

the children became curious about death

so we introduced the dinosaurs... popular with a few of the children... and lots of ideas about death, life, and shadows, and other worldliness were talked about

plenty of time to play some of these ideas the children were talking about

building and lights... there is something magical about light and shadow


and the dinosaurs really got the children interested in exploring more and more about light and shadow...


something we used as part of practising to listen with eyes...
on my facebook page I started a Sunday quote... each week sharing something wise... hoepfully you will find them to be that too...

and now i am looking forward to me trip to Boulder...