Saturday, 2 April 2011

Willow Nativity Project

Over two days in October the children in our nursery were fortunate to be involved in working with Louise McLean - willow artist.  This was part of a project funded by the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, established and managed by Jayne Taggart of Causeway Enterprise Agency. The project involved a total of 9 schools in the Coleraine area. Once all the sculptures had been made in the individual schools, they were assembled together at the Playhouse in Portrush to create the Willow Nativity.  Over Christmas the Willow Nativity scene was on display in The Diamond shopping Centre in Coleraine for the local community to see.

The children learned a great deal during the project. They discovered how to move and weave the willow branches in a safe manner so there was minimal chance of an accident. Different colours of willow were used and there was lots of discussion about length of the branches, their ability to bend and twist.  Fine manipulative skills were developed as they wove. Mathematical awareness was promoted through the creation of stars using triangles which were woven together.


Children became more aware of our living willow tunnels outdoors and the final large piece was initially given a handbag and a pink wig!!  However later she became a witch as we prepared for hallowe'en.


Firestation visit

At Kylemore we are extremely fortunate to be able to visit a wide range of places in the locality.  All the children visited the firestation in Portrush on 8th and 9th March.  Many mums and dads came along to share the visit and help staff with the children.  We were made very welcome and shown a special camera the firemen use to discover if there are people inside a burning building.  The children also had an opportunity to see a number of their parents dress in the Fireman's uniform.  Later we went outside and got a chance to use the fire hose.

It was hard work but fun!!!  We even got to soak the mums who were dressed up!!
Then James and his firemen friends showed us how a fire hydrant works and we had to shout stop when the fire engine's tank was full to the top.

When we went back to school we talked about our visit, about the dangers of fire and we created a 3-d sculpture to represent a fire using willow branches,clingfilm and coloured tissue paper.  The activity provided us with opportunities to collaborate and share as we worked.  the base was already there and we removed the previous covering.  It took lots of concentration as we wound the clingfilm around the frame. 
Then we covered it with pva glue, our hands got all sticky... 

Finally we added a layer of tissue paper in fiery colours - red, yellow orange and black - to depict the fire..and some wispy grey bits coming out of the top to represent smoke! A lamp was placed inside to create a fire-like glow.... The children are still talking about this visit and what they saw, it has also made their roleplay at the fireengine outdoors much more real and meaningful to them.
A very successful visit and follow-up!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Being Creative

February 2011.
A few weeks ago we used balloons to paint... this was an activity new to the children and one that they really enjoyed exploring.  Some simply pressed or bounced the balloons on the page while others pushed it into the paper with a degree of force, 

At first there was simply the experience and pleasure of using something in a new and innovative way.  The pastel colours were attractive to the children and pleasure was gained from simply exploring.  Then exploration became more focused..children could match the colour of the balloon to the colour of the paint.  It was great fun when the balloon bounced off the table onto the floor!!
A cloth was available to wipe away any spills....and children,  being the hands-on explorers that they are,  it was soon the case that the paint was more exciting than the balloons...  The texture and feeling of the slippery paint moving through their fingers pleased these two girls who spent a long time chatting to each other as they squished and squeezed the paint - creating a new colour as they worked!!

Some children were so busy, the sleeves were ignored as they pitched in fingers first!

while others were much more measured and focused in their creative work.