Building Homes (and phones, tables…) – 5x5x5=creativity at St Saviours Infants
Things have been pretty busy with another project for 5x5x5=creativity and Bath Spa Uni, supporting student teachers to use creative ways to explore and document Bath Botanical Gardens. I’m also on the final stage of the Stonehenge Explorers project that I’ve been running for the last few months for English Heritage and National Trust, and after testing the activity backpacks with local families, I’m working with a designer to have the finished articles ready for the end of April.
Meanwhile, at St Saviours, we have moved into a clearer phase of construction and home making – not absolutely everyone, as there are still other threads that weave in and out as the environment and group change, and something new is offered as a provocation, but in general there is a lot of interest in houses and gardens.
Groups of children have been creating shelters and houses using wood and recycled materials. The children have been giving us a ‘shopping list’ of resources they think they might need the following week, and I have been offering new tools such as hammers and nails, saws and mallets.
Some children are developing ‘Flower Gardens’ framed and shaped by signs and images on card that they are hanging from bushes and garden structures. Others are using wooden stakes and sheets or old polythene sheet and bubble wrap, to enclose spaces and keep the wet weather out.
This week there was a real interest in making furniture and other objects to go in and outside of the main group ‘house’. Parents have been bringing in their wood offcuts so we’ve lots of useful materials to use. A couple of tables were constructed, signs were drawn with arrows to show the entrance, or numbered, and a phone was created to go on the table, which has now been installed in and nailed to the side of the house for stability.
This way of working seems to be really working for the group. We are seeing children becoming more confident in coming together to work in groups, share their ideas and find solutions to practical construction issues, as well as to write and draw and communicate their feelings and ideas in a range of ways.
There is such a group interest in using tools to explore materials, as well as create objects and spaces that can be brought to life through play, and inhabited by the children that made them, that I’m sure we’ll continue in a similar vein to support these developing interests and skills next week.