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Layers of Learning: Reflecting on a Walk

by James on March 4th, 2016

Four TreesYesterday was my first full day’s session with one of the Green Town Group Schools, Brooklands Farm Primary, at their allotted project base, Campbell Park.

I wanted to keep the content of the session relatively simple, giving the Year 1 children a chance to find out what they were excited by, and a range of ways to sense, record and reflect on their experiences, both as individuals and a group.

After the group arrived, and we (myself, Bethany from MK Gallery and Alice our Project Assistant) had welcomed the school, and reminded them a little bit about why we were there and what we had discussed in my school visit, I handed over to Nicky, a park ranger with whom we were working for the morning.

We spent the morning outside, in a walk led by Nicky and punctuated by opportunities provided by me to stop, look, listen, feel, draw, make rubbings and collect.

Acrossd the BridgeNicky gave the group useful contextual information about the site’s history and ecology, while I gave them a chance to connect with the here and now, and pay attention to what was asking to be noticed.

Bridge Rubbing

Drawing a branch

In the afternoon, back at the Cricket Pavilion, our base for the day, we invited six groups of children to each create a map of their experiences with the support of an adult. Long sheets of paper were taped to the floor and they were encouraged to incorporate the rubbings, drawings and objects that they had collected along the way. I provided pens and pencils for mark-making, glue and tape for sticking, coloured card, luggage tags and string.

Boy drawing totem

Tall trees

It was an opportunity for the children to take their experiences from the morning and to explore how they connected, to express their feelings and memories through mark-making, textures and found objects, layering and combining one with another to tell the story of their journey through the park.

Completed Map


Section of Map

We will be meeting at the Park again in a couple of months for our second session together, to build on this initial exploration, and any follow-up work that takes place back at school.

Figures on a tree root

Bark shapes

  1. A wonderful start to the project, informal learning modes, hands on, sensory exploration – you can feel their enjoyment through their active participation…
    we are on the same page with our approaches…I look forward to seeing the next blog, well done James!

    • Thanks Linn, appreciate you taking the time to add your thoughts, always good to hear how my work connects with people

  2. cathy permalink

    This is lovely thanks James.
    I have also been thinking about maps in relation to a children’s drawing project that Im hoping to run here at the Stroud Museum, but with slightly older children.
    Mapping makes so much sense as we move from one place or idea or experience to another and a map of a day as you’ve done here is wonderful and I love the images esp the little people!
    thankyou you’ve inspired me

  3. Brilliant, I’m very pleased to hear you’ve been inspired, thank you for letting me know – would be great to hear/see more on your project too!

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