Saturday, June 4, 2011

Creating with Stella - our new sewing machine

Last term saw the arrival of our sewing machine into the kindergarten. We opened the box in great excitement and named the machine "Stella." Since then there has been a number of
amazing creations by the children. Each artifact or article of clothing has had significant meaning to each of the designers and seamstresses.

Whether it be the teddy bear for one to cuddle at night or the all important wedding dress each one begins with a concept drawing to creating a pattern to the construction of the chosen material. It is important children have real tools to construct their real work and the sewing machine is just one of the construction technologies children at Nayland Kindergarten have available to them.
Children throughout the sewing process develop the ability to self assess their work and plan what to do next, sometimes this is with teachers guidance . Throughout these processes the children develop a sense of what counts as good work for themselves. They take control of the process and determine the end product.
Watch this space as children plan to visit the textiles and technology class at Nayland College to share creations and learn what older students do with a sewing machine. Also we will plan a morning at WOW- World of Wearable Art Museum for more inspiration, provocation and food for the creative soul!

Problem solving through the seasons

Water never looses it fascination, and children always seek it out whatever the weather or season and as the temperatures have been unseasonally high we have had lots of time for exploration.  The teachers thinking had been stimulated by a photo of a water feature in another centre, and the possibilities for the stonepit started to unfold.  What if we created a waterway and channels with water conservation in mind somewhere around the stonepit area, which did not seem to be used to its potential for a while.  So the pipe construction began as an invitation for children to wonder, to investigate and problem solve, and it did not take long for their curiosity to be stimulated.

The questions began, "what was I doing?", "what would we need?", and "who could play here?".  I didn't answer all their questions, I just added that I was building something with some ideas that I had, and they were keen to help out to see what the outcome was.  I had purposefully not added any props for play.  At first they tested sticks, leaves and bark and  had some success getting them to travel down the pipes in the water flow.  

They decided to try stones which were much heavier and they noticed that they could change the water flow.  
They worked away studiously loading the pipes, both the water and the pipes were changing shape.  I prompted them to think about what might happen next, "if I turned the hose off and you had to recycle water how would you do it?"

They responded quickly with several vessels being used to collect water from the bottom trough and return it to the top pipe, and this required alot of problem solving, as some children were not tall enough to reach and pour at the same time.  It was interesting to watch the girls problem solve this one first.  
The play has continued over the week and the children have returned to problem solve, explore and think about how they can transport water. 

Exploring flight.

We are off to visit the rescue helicopter hangar again soon and after my big OE I must say that I am fascinated as to how aeroplanes and helicopters fly.  So tapping into the interest of many of the children at kindergarten we started to explore flight with some paper aeroplane darts.  We noticed that some darts flew better than others and after some discussion I asked the children if they would like to make kite at kindergarten and we could find out how they fly too.  So we made contact with local kite expert and we set up a time for him to come and run a kite workshop.
What a great morning, with a little bit of history and then we had an opportunity to build our own kite, learning some knew skills and knowledge along the way.

We had to have patience, listen to Ted and work together to make 10 kites and then we were rewarded with time to fly them up on the Broadgreen fields up the back.  All our efforts were rewarded as we tested the flying capabilities of our kites, it took some testing, retesting, adjustments and retesting, needing perseverance and trial and error to make them fly.  But that is all part of the learning that takes place for children and adults.
I think the photos say it all, as you see the pleasure, busyness and enjoyment shared by all.
Thanks Ted  (from Rainbow Flight)
Thanks to the wonderful parents who came along, I don't about you but I learnt alot about making kites and will be off to try my hand at it sometime soon.

Movie Stars in the making!

Some students from Nayland College had asked if they could come and make a movie at kindergarten with a small group of children and of course we jumped at the idea.  What a wonderful opportunity for our 4 year olds to see 16 year olds excited about learning too and maybe they too would want to be movie makers in the future.  I am not sure who was more excited our children or the 3 boys from college.

The boys explained to children that they would read a story, and then
they would choose someone to ask a question and then they would have to run outside pretending they were a bit scared.  They explained that it was a pretend story and did they think that they could scream too, no problem thought the children.

Mary and I watched on in wonder as the children acted out their role and produced some fantastic footage for the boys.  At one stage, I think it was the screaming stage, the boys were laughing so much they could hardly film and at the end they couldn't thank us enough for the great footage they had got.  The thank you belongs to the children.

For all our hardwork we all got Movie Star badges and then told the whole world about our new experiences.  You never know we could all be movie starts one day.

The funniest thing about the story  read was that it was the foreward and introduction with no pictures.  The children were intrigued, they listened with intent and laughed when the reader found tricky words and made funny facial expressions.  The audience was captivated and followed the storyline.

We are always keen to involve the 3 schools around us in our programme as we can see the potential for peer learning and the many opportunities and possibilities that unfold.  We are now looking forward to the final movie and maybe the teachers can tap into a bit of movie making learning too with the college boys.    The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Autumn Colours

With all the wonderful autumn leaves lying around at the moment I thought I would bring some in as a provocation at the art table, as well as a simple arrangement of gatherings from my garden placed in a vase. Over the next three days some wonderful art work was produced as children explored a range of art processes - painted leaves, collage, leaf rubbings, leaf prints, children's own paintings of the leaves and screen printing. Check out the display on the art wall to view some of the work from our amazing little artists.