Well, I am back in Hampshire preparing for the end of this project with the four settings who were identified by the LA as already good, and given the challenge of moving their practice forward. Today I met with Helen and her team at Noah's Ark pack away pre-school in the morning (see previous post) and Amey and the team at Little 1's private day nursery this afternoon.
I was SO impressed with what both settings had achieved in a relatively short space of time and once again was inspired by their practice.
I will post more about the projects in depth after the 31st Jan when we are doing the 'official' feedback and share what we (well 'they' really) did with any 'befores' and 'afters'.
While doing some joint environment observations in Noah's Ark with Helen this morning we saw a really good example of how the role of the adult can massively impact on the potential for discovery and attainment.
All of the preschoolers at Noah's have access to a selection of powder paint, ready mixed paint, glue etc which they just help themselves to. The role of the adult is very much to 'teach not tell' and the children are encouraged to experiment with all aspects of creativity.
Here is one of their cherubs today experiencing powder paint. First as a dry texture and then with a squirt of water, as a medium for painting.
He was not required to paint with a brush on a piece of paper in one of 4 colours selected for him by an adult, he 'painted' with his hands onto the table top following his exploration of the powder. You could seriously see his brain cells working!
In that same setting at the same time a visiting adult (not me!) was talking to a little girl who was also keen to paint. The adult demonstrated how to paint a rainbow and then gave it to the child to 'finish'. So, like with any good paint by numbers she just filled in the blanks – blue sky, green grass, one tree and one flower.
What was a shame was that when it came to the flower the girl took her painting out of the painting area to the mark making table (I was pleased, but not surprised, to see that this is not only allowed, but actively encouraged) and she drew a very beautiful flower in felt tip.
I asked her why she had done this and she very eloquently explained that it was due to the size of brushes available, the thickness of the paint and the space on her paper where the flower 'needed to be'. This was a 3 year old who knew her way around that painting station and had experienced it in some detail. Although she was perfectly happy to 'finish off' someone else's painting you couldn't see her brain cells working. When I asked her if she was going to take it home, her reply said it all – 'No, it's not mine!'
Although 'no child sustained any long term damage in the making of this picture', it just reminded me that true creativity comes from the opportunities to really explore and experiment with a huge variety of resources where adults teach children about processes and not just an end result. This Noah's Ark does really well and with very young children.
My general rule of thumb.. .it is not Blue Peter so don't have one you made earlier as that tends to stifle not inspire!
While I am on the subject of paint. I got sent some of this through the post and it is really good!
It is granulated paint and looks like freeze dried coffee. You can mix as little or as much as you like. It is great for children to work with AND it gives yet another textural dimension to paint.