January 2019 - Beckham, Westley, Eamon, Miles and Eoin When our families brought boxes we wondered what to do with the larger ones. We decided to offer a building activity in the block room, in order to foster collaborative creativity. Teacher:“Working together, I wonder what you would like to make with these.” The children were eager to shout their individual ideas: “We could make an airplane!” “No, I want it to be a dino, it needs to be tall!” Teacher: “Let’s all draw our ideas and then as a team, we will come up with a plan.” Beckham draws a dinosaur, Westley draws a panther and Miles designs a plane. Gathering our drawings we talked about how we could choose one idea and all work together as a group. We recognised that two friends were interested in building a plane. Teacher: “Would it work to build a plane and decorate it with a dinosaur and a panther?” The children welcome the suggestion with great cheers.
LOOKING AT OUR DRAWINGS AND DISCUSSING COMMON DESIGNS The children agreed that their plane will have wings and jets. They have come together as a team and collaborated in the drawing, cutting and attaching the wings to the main box.
Eamon has just arrived and joins the engineers in adding what he calls; “A rudder”. He has found a pizza box and seems inspired by the narrow side which he folds back and forth. He shares that real wings have these. He knows exactly where his rudder should go and proceeds to tape it on. Beckham; “Yah! That looks really good!”
Miles: “The top is open!” Teacher: “What would happen if the top of the airplane was open?” Westley: “The pilot would fall out.” Eamon: “He would have to use his parachute.” Eoin: “We need more jets!”
The capacity to explore and create is vital to nurturing the zest for life that is the basis of all learning. (Early learning framework. Page 23)
RELATIONSHIPS AND SPONTANEOUS CREATIVITY This group of children have built strong relationships with one another. They enjoy spontaneously drawing together. Their unique creativity enhanced and inspired each other. At first, it was the details of their airplanes that took precedent; the children seemed focussed on describing all the bells and whistles and performance of their airplanes! As they became more confident in their personal style, the children went on to incorporate old favorite ideas as well as new components in their pictures. Their drawings no longer stood alone but became adventures to be shared with friends in rich narratives taking birth as they drew. The children developed a reciprocal interest in their friend’s skills and stories, they felt valued and a sense of belonging in knowing that their ideas mattered.
REVISITING AND PROCESSING When Rosa finished her picture, I asked her: “What would you liketo tell me about your plane?” Her reply came quickly; “The plane floatedon the water and flew back.” Later that week, Rosa revisited her picture at group time; however, her narrative had expanded into a tragic story; “The plane fell in the water because the wing broke off. They never came back alive, the wind broke the wing. The people died and went to heaven.” As I reread her group sharing it dawned on me that it had a striking resemblance to a tragic plane crash in our community. Was Rosa bringing this subject in her story? My next step was to ask her mom if Rosa had been to the plane crash shrine at Rebecca Spit. This is what Amy replied; “Yes, she had been there several times and it made an impact on her. She is very intuitive and sensitive.” “Play is the work of children…through play, children make sense of the world around them.” (Early Learning Framework p15)