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Some of the children stuck the squares of material outside the shoe outline at first but through discussion and questioning they understood that the material needed to go inside the outline. One child went to the Shoe Shop in nursery a got a shoe to copy a pattern on the side and the colour of the shoe, she had remembered from playing in their that the shoe was different from the others and had a pattern on it. Some of the children chose different colours and materials, whilst other children stuck to one colour or one type of material. One child that stood out chose red paper and ribbed card and she did a pattern repeating it over the shoe shape, she needs more opportunities to make patterns using a range of materials.
All of the children were able to put glue onto their material and stick it down, but some children put the glue on the wrong side of the paper. A target was set for these children to practise gluing on the opposite side to the side they want to show/see. The activity went well and the children enjoyed designing their own shoe. All the children met three out of the four learning objectives, they were able to choose colours and materials, use their own ideas when placing materials and they practised their gluing skills.
The objective that most of the children found it difficult to describe was how things felt. They had a limited range of vocabulary, even though we had previously covered the subject. Suggesting describing words and asking the children if I was correct worked well as it helped some of them to recall words from previous lessons, other children were still unable to answer. In order for children to move further up the stepping-stones towards the Early Learning Goal for exploring media and materials they must begin to describe the texture of things. For the children who find this difficult more opportunities are needed for them to develop their ideas and vocabulary.
Again the introduction and organisation of the activity worked well as the routine was used as in the previous activity. The children knew what to do and I was able to work well with three children at a time. My role during this activity was to explain the task again, to model what the children were to do by showing them a shoe I had designed. I continually asked the children about why they were choosing a certain colour or type of material and what it felt like, and if they were unsure I would tell them what I thought it felt like using describing words.
The lesson was extremely appropriate as it linked well to the topic Hands and Feet and to the mini topic of the week ‘The Elves and the Shoe Maker’. Again the objective, like the previous activity, related well to the stepping-stones and the early learning goals. Through the collage the children were carrying out an effective and useful activity, which Morgan (1988) suggests ‘is a link between visual and tactile experience.’ (p. 74) Through this activity the children were not only exploring and experimenting with ideas and materials, but also developing practical and essential skills that are the basis for the rest of their education.
These activities have shown that the experience of art (creative development) contributes to the education of young children in many ways. It provides essential links and connections to help children develop life skills. Through art children can develop the ability and confidence to bring practical skills to a range of problems, sometimes in other subject areas. Whilst I was on my placement a child who really enjoyed the creative aspect of learning, who was still at the scribbling stage, worked extremely hard on a piece of work and was continually praised throughout the day. As her confidence grew, due to being praised for her artwork, her confidence and interest in other areas of learning grew.
Children are able to develop and assess their own and others ideas, and choose what materials tools would best fit a job/task. Children are able to build up knowledge about the world around them through their senses by trial and error in art, using their own ideas and methods what ever their abilities/needs. Overall children enjoy art because it is fun, there are no rules to follow, they are free to explore, experiment, express themselves and learn by discovering things for themselves.
Barnes (1987) suggested just how important art is, To be involved in creative activity is to confront how we feel about things. Expressing a mood, emotion, or temperament through art becomes as valid as responding to another person, a moving sight, or a meaningful experience. Both responding and expressing through art puts us in touch with qualities, which are part of what make us human. As such they give special significance and meaning to what we see with our eyes and the inner of the mind. They touch on part of us that nothing else can.” (p. 1)
Barnes, R (1987) Teaching Art To Young Children 4-9. Boston, Sydney and London. Allen and Unwin. Bruce, T (1997) Early Childhood Education. Hodder and Stoughton. Lewis, H (1966) Child Art. Publisher not known.