teaching to learn, means learning to teach

Posts tagged ‘face paint’

Creativity and a stream of conciousness

People tell me I’m a pretty creative person. Is that because they see me with the kids telling stories or making up games? More often it’s because they see the products of my creativity. Whether that be an art activity with paints or felt pens, a construction of planks and A frames for an obstacle course or things grabbed from around the way to enable complex role-playing. As with most things in life, I’m pretty sure it’s the process of creating that opens gateways to learning. It’s being able to explore the attributes of items and assess their usefulness, their liabilities and their qualities for whatever we would like to see them become.

I love the internet because it opens so many minds to me – it’s like having the best arrangement of teachers in one room – with me there to absorb and retell their tales! But not everything in Childcare is about doing new things. Children learn so much from repeated activities, from being able to try techniques they learnt last time and can now extend upon orย  to gaining satisfaction when they are able to complete activities with more precision and control. Practice makes perfect isn’t just a clichรฉ!

Painting is an opportunity to master pre-writing control and connect our artistic and logical parts of the brain – among many other things!

As an art medium it is easy to apply and offers instant gratification.

As a learning tool, it has endless possibilities for application.

As a toy, it’s heaps of fun ๐Ÿ™‚

There is a certain pride in being face painted. It might have something to do with all the sensory feedback that makes us relax or giggle, sit rock solid or twitch like a bunnies nose. Becoming a character or embodying the essence of a superhero/animal/fairy/magical creature/robot is a powerful feeling, having others recognise your play is also a great communication and self-esteem booster!

As much as we introduce animal names and sounds, letters, numbers and math concepts. We can’t forget that today’s children are raised in a world of multi media. Where at the touch of a button they can become immersed in a different world or click away at computer games as they chase dreams and fantasy. Although there are many personal debates over how much we should be including ‘marketed’ toys or games in childcare, I see how the connections some children make between a favourite TV show or movie Character can really bring their language to life and support friendships. So, I’m thinking it’s not all bad. This doesn’t mean I’m going to sit the kids down to a day of Yo Gabba Gabba or Sesame Street, but I’ll certainly celebrating their learning and investigation brought on by their personal involvement in their favourite shows!

As with all creative process’ there is an element of danger. Our words can hurt someone’s feelings, our painting can become messy and slippery, out what we need to learn is that with every element of danger, there is an equal and opposite role of responsibility. To wear protective gear, to behave in a way that won’t hurt anyone, to accept that it is often our own actions that lead us into getting hurt. From poor preparation to misreading ourย  aim or judgement. But without the opportunities to practice these skills, we can’t improve our techniques!

We will also have a hard time learning to manage our own pain.

Cause and effect or natural consequences, it’s often not the end of the world.

And you know what. Kids can deal with that, so why shouldn’t we let them? ๐Ÿ™‚


Making up for the future

As a woman, a mother of four, a full-time employee and partner to an artistic inventor I find nothing more relaxing than sitting back and having my face primed and made up. Unfortunately, as a woman, a mother of four, a full-time employee and partner to an artistic inventor I rarely make the time! I’m usually the first to volunteer when the kids want to face paint someone else or when someone wants to play hairdresser ๐Ÿ˜‰ So today we took the children’s interest into that same space. The place where you can focus on yourself, the sensations running through your skin, the look of your features in a mirror, the appreciation of new colours against your skin tone…

Where all the painting you’ve done on paper becomes an integrated sensory and artistic endeavour.

One thing that stops kids in their tracks, almost infallibly, is being allowed to play dress ups with Mum’s clothes and make up or getting access to Dad’s shed. There is no way I am ready to break out the power tools with under 5’s, just yet!

I dragged in my box of eye shadows and blushes, cotton tips and nail polish. A wonderful friend gave me her supply of AVON trial lipsticks, which are perfect for a group of children! Who couldn’t believe their luck when they were told that they got to keep the lipstick, to take it home for Mummy or Nana. This was probably the highlight of the day for most of them!

Now, I couldn’t have an ensemble of kids all dressed up with no place to go! That’s just doesn’t seem fair, no matter what age you are ๐Ÿ™‚ So we made microphones and went outside for some singing and dancing.ย 

It turned into an impromptu show for the Koala group in the next yard and the interactions between the two groups was beautiful to watch. It takes real confidence for adults to slap on some make up, dance up a storm and feel confident enough to sing in front of a crowd, but these kids don’t know that ๐Ÿ™‚

They think they are having fun and have not yet felt the pressures of social conformation, of hurt or ridicule for trying things outside the realm of ‘normal’. They are young and fresh and the face of our future. Let’s hope that they can lead the way to a world that is tolerant, accepting and inclusive.

The fun of “Scary”

We’ve been learning about bodies this week. Discussing what we know, introducing toys and puzzles to enhance our understanding and seeking out what different parts of our bodies are for. I’m really looking forward to the discussions we’ll have, invariably some of the cutest answers come out of Kindy Kids mouths and the sneakiest chuckles when we talk about bottoms!
One of the puzzles we have out is set in layers. The first layer, the base, is the skeleton of a little boy, the next is his internal organs. After that is a layer of muscle, then skin and finally clothes. What I love about this puzzle, is that it reminds me of the old encyclopaedias we had as kids, the ones with the clear pages that layered over each other. I used to sit looking at those layers of people and frogs for ages!
Well Quinn has decided he LOVES this puzzle. He’ll sit there and pull it apart, carefully putting in pieces until he gets to the muscles layer. As he stared intently at the picture before him and intones “Scary”, he also has a smudge of a smile playing at his lips. It surprises me when kids show this sort of understanding of the thrill of being scared. I guess it shouldn’t really – I do seem to spend many an afternoon chasing them into giggles with “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” and the snappy turtle game!
(where I *threaten* to pinch their bottoms if they keep following me. Which somehow always ends with a huge following of just-out-of-reach giggling gerties who are waiting for the tickle to end all tickles!)
I diverge. With Quinn’s interest in this puzzle, and a class that’s filled with a vivid array of skin colours and cultures, I decided now was the time to break out the face paints. Instead of painting butterflies and superheroes, I painted bones and muscles and tendons along their forearms! We talked about how the colour of our skin may be different, but on the inside we’re all made of the same stuff. We practised fists and wiggling fingers to see how our wrists made the ‘muscles’ jump.
The kids couldn’t get enough of the painting, so we flipped their hands over and painted on all the bones that help their fingers move and showed how that joined up to the bones painted on the other side. It was really exciting to see how much the kids appeared to be understanding what I was talking about. I may not be able to remember the words to the “Dem Bones” but I know how to make the skeleton come to life! ๐Ÿ™‚