Monday, October 29, 2018

Fabric Stuffies in the Studio

Okay, this crazy cool thing is happening in the studio!
The children are drawing on fabric and the effects are beautiful!  Many of their works of art are being transformed into Stuffies (with the help of my handy-dandy sewing machine and some sewing of their own).  I haven't seen a crowd of children this interested in three-dimensional creative expression in several years.
Their creativity and enthusiasm is contagious.  Clearly I'm going to need to get some more fabric!
 Stay tuned as we discover together where this passion might lead in the weeks ahead...

Friday, October 12, 2018

Firefighters visit! Wooohooo!

The firefighters from Station 19 came to our school today and we got to see meet some real firefighters in person!  The team provided us with a demonstration to familiarize the children with how a firefighter looks and sounds when dressed in full firefighter regalia. 
 The children were sooooo excited.
And then they got to climb inside the truck!  Pretty cool right?
 The morning classes even got to take home a fire hat.
The same experience was planned for the afternoon classes but just as the truck pulled up they received an emergency call and had to rush off.  We waved and wished these everyday heroes a safe trip.
Not wanting to forego our firefighter investigation entirely, I brought in the fire station work for the toddlers to play with.  In the picture below a young girl was decked out in her firefighter finest while caring for the classroom baby doll.  The image provides a poignant reminder that rescuing is another form of care.  This is particularly significant when we consider how often children are discouraged from battle play by caring adults.  But if we step back long enough to take a closer look sometimes we notice that battle scenarios provide opportunities for children to act as rescuers in a safe environment.  This kind of dramatic play is both empowering and nurturing.
Just a little food for playful thought.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Welcoming Autumn with peach jam and fall art

While the children and I practiced fall observational drawing with soft pastels, prisma colored pencils and graphite on grey-tone paper...
 BJ worked with the children to make delicious peach jam from peaches the children and I had cut and frozen earlier in the season.
Every child will bring a sample home to share with families but if you'd like to try the recipe at home, we've included it here:
  • 2 lbs fresh ripe peaches (about 8)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (optional)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups white sugar

How to make your jam:
  1. Place peach slices, lemon zest and lemon juice into a heavy bottomed large pot, over medium-low heat.
  2. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the peaches are soft, and the juices are released.
  3. As the peaches soften, stir frequently, and use your spoon or a potato masher to break them down.
  4. At this point, add your sugar, and stir until dissolved.
  5. On medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
  6. After the 5 minutes, reduce the heat to low-medium (don’t boil the jam, just slow cooking), for another 40-60 minutes. (Note, this is an adjustment that I made. The jam needed more time to thicken.) You will know that the jam is ready when the mixture is thick enough to leave a trail behind the spoon (a little trick from Martha Stewart).
  7. Remove from heat, and let cool completely before serving.
Bon Appetit' and Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The sky's the limit

As you may have heard, there is a wooden airport, complete with luggage, conveyer belts, planes and people in the studio. It has been a huge hit! I observed the children at play for a few weeks and noticed that the play wasn't moving beyond story telling and interacting with the materials in a fairly prescribed way.  This gave me pause and inspired Bekke and I to have a conversation.  We wondered how we might encourage the children to move beyond the elements included in the airport work.  After some thinking we decided that perhaps we'd given the children too many pre-made materials with which to play.  So we took some of the pre-made parts away and brought in some open ended wooden and recycled materials to extend their thinking.  I placed these materials on a shelf near the airport work and voila', without any effort on my part, handmade airplanes became the THING!  Now, the studio is fast becoming a factory or sorts and not just of airplanes, children are now making birds and other three-dimensional creations with which to play.  
This child spent an afternoon creating a large painting of a cloudy sky.  Her artwork inspired conversations about flight and wind and liftoff.  It also provided a beautiful backdrop for some of their creations.
In an effort to support this study, I'm scouring my house for recycled and repurposed materials to use in the studio.  If you are inspired to help, I'd love it if you could do the same.
And when you do, just drop them by the studio and you'll get to see some of the children's creations suspended from the ceiling.