'CREATIVE CHILDREN CONNECTING TO NATURE' - 2018
This years theme is 'creative children connecting to nature'. The intent of this project is to support and foster children's ability for mindfulness, to notice things around them through the senses and make mindful connection to the space in which we walk. The children's creative responses to these experiences will culminate with a public exhibition at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens which will highlight our connection to our backyard, what is beyond our fence, and the wider Gladstone Community.
Term one focused on discussing with the children about 'how to be in nature', to notice and connect. The children's ideas and response to this concept lead to the making of mindful cards using their words and drawings surrounding the topic.
Term two and term three the children visited the Gardens for ecological walks. The walks involved the children revisiting their mindful cards to remind them how to be in nature to notice. On the walks the children had an opportunity to take photos and videos to record their experience. The children then took back their findings, collection and experiences to the studio to deconstruct and investigate.
In 2017 Tracey was given the opportunity to work with Rainbow Valley Childcare Centre to facilitate a project working with Kindergarten age children throughout the year. The project was funded by Regional Arts Development Fund Grant (RADF).
The project entitled “Creative Children Creating Change” focuses on engaging children to understand the impact humans make that affect our planet and environment and the need for action and sustainability.
Over the course of the year we had discussions with the children about “How can we be kind and show respect to our earth?”. The concept of sustainability was deeply imbedded in this endeavour, as we had many discussions why it is important to do something about our landfill issues as well as discussions surrounding the need for finding new ways to repurpose materials.
Conversations became central to our project to understand the theories children were developing about our topic. We used real materials and pictures to hold and discuss, then asked the children to draw. Observing of children drawing and listening to their self-talk as they construct their ideas gives a window into their perception.
“Jelly fish looking like plastic bags in the Ocean”
“That rubbish goes in the bin, the turtles get choked. It is sad.”
“There is a plastic bag and it broke. It had handles. There
were two sharks, they ate the plastic bag and got sick and died.”
“The plastic bags trick the turtles.”
“The turtles eat plastic bags because they look like jellyfish.”
“The wind blew the plastic bags into the ocean.”
Throughout this project we have made essential space for these conversations. The sharing of ideas and perspectives, listening to each others point of view became paramount. As we listened to each other, the group as a whole gained knowledge. Taking time to go back to the larger groups and explain what we were doing in the studio became essential to the way we moved the ideas forward and collaborated as a whole.
Children often explain their thinking through their stories. Using self-talk, children develop and construct meaning about the world. In the beginning we offered the children a recycled object and asked them to create a story of what may have happened to the object. The stories were used as a way of framing knowledge. Our stories were humorous, full of imagination and creativity. Each story told a moral truth the plastic doesn’t break down and it is added to the delicate ecosystem in the natural world and becomes a problem for the animals with which we share the world.
We noted children playing with the cut-out Giraffe images on the OHP, we decided to ask the children,' what would the Giraffes say about being kind to our EARTH?' This idea served as a stimulus for offering children a way for their drawings to come alive. After showing the children it was possible to make their images move we set about the task of writing three animations with different groups.
Making our drawings come to life.
Our animations were developed through the children's narratives. As we reflect back on the project we can see clear connections to our original discussions and provocations. Through their story telling we can see what is important to them: Family, Responsibility, a need for action and shared respect and responsibility for our shared planet. These are some of the solutions they have dreamt through the creation of their animations.
The children developed their stories in the kindergarten rooms in different ways, drawing, drafting and refining their story, using shared drawing, role play, aboriginal story, helicopter story and questioning. The educators and children developed their ideas. Once the scripts were set we worked out the props background and characters that were needed. Children in each group collaborated to make items and props and backgrounds. We explored how to use the camera by making play dough, our drawings and recycled objects move. We then began to film in small groups. Children developed understanding of different roles to complete a shared task; taking the photo, re-arranging the scene, making decisions on the direction of the character and watching the monitor to make sure that the new image was still in shot. This was very complex work. We were amazed at how quickly the children adapted to the new technology, the limitations and ‘rules’ that animation camera created.
We began exploring how to edit and enhance our images by drawing digitally into our screen. Finally looking for sound effects online, making our own noises and saying the words to complete our animations. The laughter and comic nature of our creations was joyful. We are so proud of the work the children put into these creations.
'TUESDAY ART PLAY' - 2017, 2018 & 2019 PROJECT
The Tuesday, Art Play seven week program has been tailored to suit very young children, 18 months – 5 years. Facilitated by experienced tutor, Tracey Smith, the sessions focus on interactivity and visual art awareness, rather than creating a finished product.
Sessions are designed to enrich creativity and bonding between child and guardian, while taking the stress out of unrestricted art play. Prepare to get messy as your little one flexes their creative muscle and develops their fine motor skills in the process.
How often you come is up to you. Attend one session or make it a part of your weekly routine!
The Gallery & Museum is a friendly and welcoming space for the whole family so bring your creative adventurer along with you for some affordable, quality time together.