We began laying out the big gray felt sheet and the smaller blue rectangle that are used in our “face game” in the middle of the floor, along with a basket of rectangles of felt that are the size of the cards in the face game. Previously, the two big pieces of felt had only come out during our meeting right before snack.
When Caroline and Asha come in, Caroline immediately notices and picks up the gray sheet, sweeping it in the air: I’ve got an idea! Then she and Asha move the entire setup to the stage, where they place the rectangles on top of the gray and blue felt sheets until there are none left. Now they, along with Travers, bring more pieces of felt from the felt table setup to the stage. Caroline says, We are going to get a lot of squares so it can be a sculpture park! Clearly they understand the intention, but it the play turns into the moving and dumping of materials – not an unexpected response from this age group. Diane comes over and talks to them about our intention, and explains that they need to return the ones that came from the felt table, which they do.
The next day, Caroline and her dad come in early (he is the parent helper) and she shows him how the felt mapping setup works. Her response is mainly focused on her family, This is Daddy, this is mommy, as she places all of the rectangles in the sculpture park. She also notices a slight difference in the sizes of the rectangles, holding them up next to each other to closely compare their sizes. Caroline then indicates that the smallest one is her baby sister.
With regard to the felt table setup, others have had this same initial response as Caroline, Asha and Travers did to the mapping provocation on the floor.
Thomas, after sitting down and studying the materials for a minute, gets large felt squares from where they are stored, making one large pile. In older classrooms, the children think about what they need and get just those things, but at three, we’re still getting there.
One thing noteworthy is Thomas’ ongoing interest in building towers with all different kinds of materials, and we wonder if this is part of why he piled up the felt squares. When unit blocks were introduced this week, Thomas immediately began stacking them into wonderful creations, decorating them with the smaller, colorful blocks. Perhaps he is more apt to think in 3D. Maybe he also prefers building with a material that has a significant weight.
One important aspect of the Reggio-inspired experience is giving children time. We leave materials out for long spans of time so they can return to them again and again. Gradually, we see children spending more time at the felt table.
Kyla makes a face:
These are his eyes. That’s his tears.
She also makes a flower.
Cal makes a piano, and proceeds to play it! On another day, the piano didn’t play because it ran out of batteries. We suspect that Asha made one, too. The next day, Kaya makes a piano, too (and plays it!).
Ian makes a balloon, and in his case it isn’t a drawing but a sculpture! Seeing Ian’s balloon, Will makes one too.
Amelia says These are raindrops and these are lines. She starts over, and now says, These are puddles.
Luca, seeing what Amelia has done, creates something similar. Then he takes a small orange rectangle and says, I want to twist these and make a shape. Both he and Ian seem to be interested in transforming this seemingly 2D activity into a 3D one!
Clearly there is a connection between mapping and drawing. You have to think about the placement of the “pieces” of your drawing, whether it’s a face, a house, a road, a sunrise, or something non-representational.
Back to mapping the sculpture park and Studio Blue:
The children have been noticing the names underneath the photos on the cards in the face game. They have also noticed that some cards of sculptures don’t have names underneath them. Cal is thinking about these names when he uses the felt rectangles in our new setup.
After Cal places felt pieces down, he grabs his clipboard and says,
I’m writing the names down. First I’m going to write me. He shows Asha, That’s my name.
Thomas comes over and draws a T on his clipboard: T for Thomas.
LucaI wrote my name. I wrote everybody’s name. Luca turns to Will: Draw your name.
Ruthie comes over with her clipboard, excited to contribute: T for Thomas and TT!
Kaya joins in, too: I came back to wrote my name.
Each day, the children are bringing new ideas to the group when we play our face game and map out the park. There was a recent suggestion of adding a road, a big long ribbon around so my mom can drive out to our map. We are excited to see what will happen next.
Lincoln Nursery School is a non-sectarian, non-profit, cooperative nursery school, serving 60 children ages 2.9 to 6 years old. Our community is composed of families from many surrounding towns.
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