At Jujurha Preschool we tipped a bag of rags onto a mat, stood back and watched how the children responded. For a split second they stood in silence looking at the pile and then went into excited action as they explored the pieces of cloth. The chatter was constant, more to themselves than to others, as they discovered big pieces, small pieces, geometric shapes, bits of patchwork, see-through cloth, shiny bits of sari, brocade, colours, patterns, soft cloth, stiff cloth, shweshwe, the ‘shot’ effect of organza and more.
Then the children started to think what they could do with the cloth. They wrapped cloth around their heads and bodies (accompanied by some dance steps), they chose pieces that looked nice together, and some selected similar shapes…
Then someone needed to make the shapes himself, so off he went to find scissors. Some one else went off to find glue so that she could stick pieces together.
Deep concentration, individual creative thought and application resulted in some satisfying accomplishments.
In this activity, the process is far more important than the end product. The children are making choices and aesthetic preferences, experimenting, problem solving, expressing their individuality, developing their ability to manipulate materials and tools, and building confidence resulting in the satisfaction of an activity thoroughly explored.
Pressure is sometime put on teachers for children to produce works that “look like something”. This then ends up with ‘recipe’ work. That is work thought out by the teacher, who also prepares the materials, the methodology and instructs the children what to do. All the children do is follow instructions.
We want our children to be innovative, confident, creative thinkers.