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Information Session
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Re-inventing

This week began with a provocation of a classroom sprinkled with rubbish and discarded items. Cereal boxes, cardboard tubes corks, cartons - these sorts of disposable materials are cultural treasures in early childhood. Found materials like these offer intriguing provocations. In a child’s hands a cereal box is no longer a container for cereal. It can become a tiny home for a tiny teddy or an ice-cream machine or ….

  • Re-Invention

“There’s a big bottle!” (Theodore)

“You could put coins in here to measure it. (Bean can) Or you could put beans in it and shake!” (Talia)

“(A cardboard boat) I could make lifeboats at school.” (Ollie)

“(A plastic bottle) It could be a rocket!” (Theodore)

“It would be in the Atelier.” (Ollie)

“It would be in the sea. It could hurt turtles.” (Holly)

Sometimes I like to build stuff with rubbish and make snakes and lions too and triceratops.” (Jude)

“We use rubbish to make something else. Other people find rubbish and make something and create a robot or make something new.” (Aiko)

Over the year so far the children have shown a huge interest in making new things from discarded materials and view them as a fabulous resource with endless possibilities. The children are already skilled in re-discovering materials in new and surprising dimensions. Some children gather materials with a specific intention in mind, a plan to create a spaceship or an oil tanker or a home for a puppy. Some children gather materials that intrigue them and that catch their imagination. As they create, children show awareness of symmetry and balance in their sculptures and constructions. As they begin to construct they often encounter challenges about how to attach parts to one another.  They develop the technical skills needed to build with these materials and strategies are developed .

The teachers are intending to develop this interest and foster ethical behaviour that opposes the throwaway culture and to give value to the reuse of discarded materials. These waste materials can be transformed into new objects, giving them new meaning and shape, giving them a new life and a new identity. Even objects destined for the rubbish bin can contain creative potentials that deserve to be recognised and developed. The thing that may seem insignificant and obsolete, when observed with different eyes and with greater attention, can be rediscovered in it’s myriad of possibilities and it’s many further uses. It is helpful to reflect on issues of environmental impact and sustainable development from a perspective that is curious and attentive rather than alarmed and alarmist. This presents an optimistic and proactive approach to environmentalism and to build change though giving value to otherwise worthless objects and generate new opportunities for expression and creativity, within a perspective of respect for objects and the environment.

Clair Wain

Director of Early Years