It is a tradition in the spring at St. John’s for the children to make welcome messages for the new children that will be joining our community next school year. The children of the Brown Room will be carrying on this tradition making folded paper messages in the coming weeks. To prepare for this project, we introduced the children to paper folding at the light table using tissue paper. The tissue paper, when illuminated by the light table was an intriguing provocation.
Ramsey: I gonna do blue. This one or this shape. It’s a square. Ramsey placed his finger in the middle of the piece of tissue and folded it in from the corner. He first folded a triangle, then a square and lastly a rectangle. Ramsey enthusiastically returned to the light table on the second day to add to his collection of shapes which he had folded the day before, "I fold it like a rectangle, both rectangles. Orange rectangles and I did a red rectangle."
Win was excited to join Mimi at the light table, where she exclaimed, "I wanna do that. Fold it down," as she began folding her first piece of tissue paper. In all, Win folded three pieces of tissue; green then purple then red. With each piece, her folds became more complex. Win smoothed down the crease that she had made in the red tissue. Then she opened her piece of tissue and closed it again, "I make it big. I make it small."
Charlton: I folded it like a train track. Long like a train track. I like orange better now. I folded it. It’s a train track. It’s a blue fire truck. It’s a jet fighter.
On the second day of the paper folding provocation, Charlton carefully chose his tissue paper, "I choose dark blue." as he continued with her work from the previous day, "These are fighter jets. "
The folding of the tissue paper was a challenge for our fine motor skills as well. As the children explored the tissue paper and the folding process, they became more confident and were able to describe the steps.
As the children gained more confidence, they were able to teach their friends.
Charlton: You don’t crumple.
Charlton then showed Rawls and Cal how to fold the paper.
Rawls: I trying to fold! I fold it this time. I crushed it (the first time) and I did it again. Look at my house!