Children are amazing people; capable of surprising us with their abilities if only we pay attention and notice this. How often we underestimate them and it’s a wonderful thing to be proven wrong in these circumstances.
The children in the Sunshine Room have been on a bit of a journey with a certain Mr Picasso. Children are never too young to be introduced to the finer things in life and art is no exception. They are like sponges; eager to listen and take on board whatever we can pass on to them.
I also love, how in the right environment, seeing how fearless they can be. It’s a lesson I can definitely learn from them. How often as adults we become cynical or jaded by life’s experiences – the well intentioned teacher who somehow made us feel inadequate, unable to achieve or merely left us with a whole bunch of inhibitions that time has merely cemented into stone. “I could never…… “ is a refrain I’ve definitely heard myself utter on numerous occasions.
Dee has set up a rather lovely art corner, full of resources that inspire the children to explore their creativity and to work alone or with their companions. It has been eye opening to see these children listen to Dee’s instructions about making a self portrait with paint or using facial features cut from an Avon catalogue and set to their task with joy, humour and a willing spirit. I had a go –I tried to make my face from transient art materials (pebbles, straws, candles) and found it quite tricky to be honest but the children came alongside me and, with more skill that I had, helped me make a representation of my face. (The addition by a certain someone who shall remain anonymous of a straw across the top of my lip and being told it was my moustache was the funniest thing that had happened to me in nursery for ages!)
We strive at nursery to make an environment for all our children that supports and develops their creativity, not just artistically but in all areas of their learning. Being creative has almost become synonymous with being arty but that’s not the case. Being creative is about expressing yourself; it’s about trying new things, new ways of thinking and it involves the imagination. It is these aspects we are looking to nurture and develop in all our children.
In the Little Stars Room for example, we will give our children interesting objects to explore like brushes, scarves, kitchen roll holders and pegs. There is no right or wrong way to use these objects and they don’t have only one way to be used – which more prescriptive toys like pop up toys can do. We are looking to give the children these objects and the freedom to explore them; finding out for themselves what can be done with them. Scarves can be rolled up, laid down flat, pushed inside a bag or hidden under. It’s the process of finding all these things out that is important and sets up the youngest of our learners with skills that they will use their whole life.
As the children move on through the rainbow room and onto the Sunshine Room, they encounter on a daily basis, experiences and opportunities which continually develop and provoke their thinking skills and encourage them to use their imagination in their every day play.
Children who are given these experiences by practitioners are able to use their initiative, develop excellent social and communicative skills, have a good range of problem solving skills, are independent and are intrinsically motivated to learn.
That eureka moment is all the treasure the child needs.