It's been a year and change since the last post. A big move across a sea and navigating a new school last year left me with little to say in this space. I have always used this space as one to share and reflect. Amid change unfortunately reflection can get cropped from the picture...or at the least public forms of reflection. Now in my second year (at a not so new anymore school) I feel there is time once again to reflect here. I also realized how much I missed writing and processing my teaching experiences.
A new year has just begun. And values are on my mind.
Our values are conveyed in everything we do - every material we place on a table or shelf - every activity we undertake. It's such a responsibility really to be intentional. This year I thought more about art materials than I ever have before. I think this is in part due to how clearly I can see the path ahead of us now. This takes time. Now in my sixth year of early childhood education, I know that using open-ended materials, recycled and found materials to be really important. With this in mind, it means that everything even from the first introductions with glue, scissors, markers, etc can be introduced in a very mindful way.
Can scissors and glue encourage meaningful, open-ended discovery? Can we convey the importance of respecting the tools and materials in a way that resonates with children? Can an activity be about much more than the individual - can it be about our entire new "family?"
Well. That's where the wondering began. So a collection of stamps is what we made.
|Wood scraps, foam sheets, scissors, and glue...all we need for stamp-making.|
|It was a way to introduce scissor and glue -|
|in a way that gave a clue about the open-ended art experiences that lay ahead this year.|
|The next day, markers joined the stamping fun.|
|And each stamp was shared for all to use...a hint toward the friendships we will surely build this year.|
|Did they understand all of the subtle meaning? No...but there was intention.|
You know when all is said and done. The children did use the materials with pretty remarkable care. And there was not one child who held onto their stamp, each stamp was shared with ease. Part of a collective. Maybe this is because of past experiences - stamps are usually presented as a collection. Perhaps stamps just have that effect - inviting sharing. Or maybe I should just give credit to humanity and our natural instinct to give, share, and be a part of something bigger than ourself...