"Aww...it's just a little slot." - Lou Lou, 3.6 years
Inspired by the children's love for construction and their clay slab work (shown below), we became curious to see how they interpreted the invitation to build structures/sculptures out of small cardboard/mat-board. After we researched and experimented with the materials ourselves, we discovered that the most successful strategy would be to cut slits in the cardboard so that pieces could slide together. This is how we prepared the majority of the materials, leaving some without slits so that the children could make design choices for themselves.
The set up
When the first small group approached the table, they made a connection between the cardboard and our birthday gifts (collage) and our recent thread about mystery and our mystery boxes:
What do you see?
"Bases [for a collage]!!!" - Eliza, 3.5 years
"Boxes!" - Gracie, 3.5 years
"To make..." - Cully, 3.6 years
"To make..." - Gracie
"Mysteries!" - Cully
A peek into the work:
"I can't do this one." - Christopher, 3.1 years
"It's really hard." - Zoe, 3.2 years
The first group quickly realized that this was a tricky process, but they persevered and worked to figure out how to slide the pieces together or decided to take a different approach.
As they worked through their difficulties, we began to play a game of "What if?" e.g. "What if you add one more piece?" "What if you add a triangle?" "What if you make your pieces go up?" "What if you turn it around?" This seemed to offer encouragement and suggestions that the children could choose to incorporate or not. Lou Lou, Eliza, and Zoe responded enthusiastically to this "game".
Win's three pieces become one
Gracie chooses to arrange her pieces - as seen in the video above
As you can see, she has chosen to focus on arrangement and symmetry. It feels important to note that this was unprompted and she was working independently. When Elyse asked, "What does the word symmetry mean to you?" Gracie replied, "I don't know that word now." We imagine that she was holding in her mind some images of butterflies she has seen and using the materials available to design her own.
"Does this go in the kiln? [laughing]" - Caroline , 2.11 years
Other thoughts on this "tricky" technique
"I'm trying to put these together." - George, 3.7 years
"I want this to stand up." - Cully, 3.6 years
"It's still stabling. [making it stable]" - Adaline, 3.6 years
"I'm connecting it." - Cully
"Maybe this piece will work." - Eliza, 3.5 years
What if we add a triangle? - Elyse
"That's a good idea if the triangle has a slot." - Eliza
Reviewing our work together at morning meeting
"You know what it reminds me of?" - George, 3.7 years
Each day this week we have taken a moment (a lot of them actually) to revisit the children's work from the day before. They have asked interesting questions about each other's work. We have also encouraged them to imagine what the sculpture might look like to them -- how can we interpret it? As you can see above, we have turned Henri's upside down to imagine what it might transform into if we look at it from this perspective.
Below are images of their documented conversations alongside the piece they are discussing. These pieces and the children's words can be found in the windows between the classroom and studio. We encourage you to take some time to look at the complexity of the children's work and words.
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