By Paula Briggs
This resource shares the Week One session at Jeavons Wood Primary School in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, in which I’ll be working with a year 5 pupil (Lily-Rani) and a year 4 pupil (Daniel) for one hour once a week. Through regular sessions, and in collaboration with the school, the aim is to:
- Provide the opportunity for the children to develop their hands-on making and visual arts skills through regular contact and small group work;
- Help build confidence in the children in all areas of their school life, including academic, social, creative and practical skills, and so demonstrate the importance of hands-on creative epxloration;
- Inspire visual arts projects amongst other pupils and staff in the school by sharing outcomes.
Week One – Doodling with Stuff
In this hour long session I wanted to give myself, Lily-Rani and Daniel the opportunity to get to know each other a little, and to create an environment in which, from the start, they felt able to direct their own learning and feel comfortable in their own exploration.
The idea behind the session was simple: I provided a range of materials which they would be able to manipulate and transform. My intention was that I gave very little guidance as to what they might make, or how they might do it – instead I wanted the children to experience how ideas start to flow once the hands are occupied. The session is nothing more than a starting point from which we can build over the coming weeks.
It was important to me that they children were given the space (not just physical space, but also time, and lack of directive) to find their own way.
We began with a few demonstrations to make sure the children knew how to use the tools I had provided (pliers for cutting and bending, hacksaw and table bench, and glue gun), and were aware of safety considerations.
I challenged the children to make small “doodles” out of the materials provided. They could make, one, two three or more. They might not know what they were making before they started, and they might not know what something was when it was finished. Everything that was made would be put on a table with clear space around it so it could be valued, and I encouraged the children to reflect and talk about their creations as they worked (weaving in and out of conversations about pets as we got to know each other).
Thank you to the teachers and parents of Lily-Rani and Daniel for supporting their exploration.