Interesting to note what kinds of shifts were needed from Michelle and I as facilitators across the different groups - ranging from the pre-primary littlies in Banksia, to the combined lower-primary Room 2/ Bluegum group (who also taught us that, depending on adult/child ratio, 8 is probably up the top-end of numbers when it comes to leading hands-on art activities), through to the older more ambulant and verbal kids at Belmay. Good to see that, after our initial concerns that we had over-prepared the mask-making activity, our modification of the exercise to include much more choice for the kids seemed to work well and gave them a decent amount of ownership of their artworks. Also gratifying was that the steps we had worked out for the making process and the level of input they required of the kids seemed to be pitched right and kept them engaged - (couldn't help wondering in my head about that old chestnut of just how much "hand-over-hand" assistance is too much... but judging by their responses to their finished pieces, the kids were definitely happy with what they'd come up with.) Using the individual mirrors for the kids to inspect their creations along the way (just like the old cliche of the painter periodically stepping back from the easel to appraise his work) kept the kids interested and, again judging by their responses, was very affirming - not to mention fun!
It seemed like such a natural progression into the drama/role play side of things - the Goat song on high rotation on the CD very much helping to link the activities - and most of the kids were more than happy to extend their play into a bit more physicalizing and noise-making. Highlights for me included Dawn in her furry goat tunic dress-up having a good boogie to Goat's song and Harrison dancing together with Goat! Overall the children are much more comfortable with the puppets and the gang at Belmay greeted Goat like an old friend when he arrived at their classroom! Very gratifying to hear that some of the classes have been enjoying using the 2D books in storytime and listening to the CD of songs outside of our visits with them. So interesting to watch the layers of experiential understanding building upon each other... I feel like today was a great balance of learning, play, imagination and FUN!