…..as I travelled home after a long and ‘interesting’ day setting up my visualised sensory space, I reflected on the many creative skills I had drawn upon to bring it together….imagination, risktaking…(trying something new with the very concept of the space, as well as teetering on the top of the stepladder!)….problem solving…lots! as the challenge of creating a structural framework for the space almost defeated us….collaboration….couldn’t have done it without the belief, support and suggestions of Claire, Faye, Sally and Graham, the helpful premises officer, and Ian, my heroic fellow artist whose tools and expertise helped me to finish the structure…..resilience and perseverance….digging deep when things seemed impossible….reflection….considering how my planning and preparation had evolved to accommodate challenges….
I hope that the active learning experiences I can introduce to the children in Rosen Class will sow the seeds of creativity in them and lead to them growing their own life skills in the future…
As dark turned to light the next morning the final touches transformed the space and it really did feel like a different place. The bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine added another element to the reflective surfaces and white tented sheeting, creative wonderful fluid shadows and silhouettes from the suspended stars and wrapped materials.
Claire and I had decided that we would take small groups of children into the space throught the day to absorb and explore the sensory surfaces, materials and objects.
For the children in the classroom I had prepared some investigating and tactile making activities leading on from previous sessions, and in response to ideas from the children. These involved creating miniature ‘kaleidoscopes’ with collage materials, and papier mache ‘lanterns’ which we would explore later with ‘looking through’ and illumination….all leading from our glacial theme, frozen ice collages, and thinking about the awe and wonder of the movement and colours of ‘aurora borealis’!
All the lovely colours and textures gave the children lots of opportunities to create their own 3D collages for exploring in different ways.
As the first group of children entered the sensory space we quietly sat down and let them look around and notice all the different things in it. The space felt quite ‘otherworldly’ and ethereal, with gentle aural detail created by the movement of wrapped materials and foil trays and stars.
As they played we noticed that the children watched eachother and soon latched on to new ideas and activities that they were initiating….this generated new language and connections and we captured what they were saying on the ‘thinking tree’: .….’ it’s fluffy like snow’ ….. ‘it pops like a bubble’….. ‘it’s like an ice lolly’….’this gives me an idea, we can make something’…’it’s like snowing on the ground’….’why is this round inside the square?’…’I wish I sleep here’…
This focal point for planning and reflecting will remain a feature in the space and the children will be encouraged to add to it themselves as they have new thoughts and ‘lightbulb’ moments. It will be fascinating to see what new learning comes out of this space over the coming weeks, and how the children introduce new things or take things from the space into the classroom…..I feel very happy that it has certainly inspired and engaged Rosen Class and look forward to discovering what I will learn from this experience.
As the day ended it was lovely to reflect on the words of one little boy….‘I’m having fun here!’