A balloon is a great shape to work with but it takes several coats (with drying in between) to be strong enough. As paper covered balloons start lining the shelf, the children request: “When do I get to make mine?
What about creating a mask?
This invitation is received with enthusiasm. A list of the children’s ideas is posted with flexibility that it might not be a mask at all.
Inspiration, preferences and personalities
Some children use an image to guide their vision. The emotional quality of the picture seems more important to them than creating a duplicate; for instance, a very scary, fierce tiger. The cut outs are saved collectively for possible use as body features while other recycled materials are attached with hot glue to create an instant one of a kind alien. The children also get inspired by each other’s creations as one confidently wants to make a cat “Just like his!”
“That’s the one!” (Instant choice) Curved cut outs make great ears!
BEYOND LEARNING HOW TO PAPIER MACHE
The children are noticing transformation of the papier mache art and often admire each other’s work. To our delight, they are enjoying taking their mask off of the shelf and improvising a social imaginative play. They are respectful of handling only their own masks.
This project expended into a rich emotional and social inclusive experience. The children demonstrated their abilities to be patient and trustful as their work sat openly for months. Although some children received a fair amount of a helping hand, they were in charge of their vision. This collaborative creative process extended in consulting their families to support their ideas. Above all, the ‘masks’ gave some of the children a genuine feeling of belonging.
There’s a feeling of pride rising from our diverse gallery.
A POWERFUL SHOW AND TELL: HOW AURORA’S MASK BECOMES THE PERFECT TOOL
Aurora is confident that her mask will be a very scary vampire. It is one of the first to be completed. She would often wear it for a few minutes and interact with friends. One day just before group time, Aurora reacted strongly to a situation and screeched loudly twice and the room freezes! A teacher lovingly takes her aside to help her calm down. Aurora returns shortly to the group now seated at the carpet and requests everyone’s attention: “I have a show and tell,” she says and starts to share about her two little hair clips. It is a short talk but Aurora has more to say. She walks over and grabs her mask while demanding all eyes on her again: “Guys, I’m gonna show you how I look like when I’m frustrated.” Her mouth opens wide as she growls. “Now I’m gonna show you how I look like with my mask on.” Aurora wears her mask and growls loudly; she then returns it back to the shelf and seats herself down calmly.
CELEBRATION AND CLOSURE OF OUR PAPIER MACHE EXPERIENCE
To honor and share the children’s creativity, we paraded with our colourful creations ‘downtown’ Q. Cove! How joyful to be applauded by the big school kids, honked at by the passing traffic and cheered on by proud friends and family members.
We ended it all with a lovely picnic, frozen treat and a roll down the hill!