I'm sure you've all been checking out the various wonderful creations by our own Red Fox over the last few posts, I felt that it was, however, due time to shine a light on what happened inside the Den in the run up to Christmas. As we approached the season of merriment, I wanted to make sure that our build up was natural, had a home made feel and gave the children ownership of their room. I plan to go into the theory and practicalities of ownership in the setting in a future post but for now have a look at our results:
The star was kindly made for us by a parent (& a very creative bunch they are too!), the tree by Laura (one of our apprentices) and decorated over the month by the children. The night sky scene came out of pure happenstance: Nin found some gold spray paint and involved the children in a new mark making experience creating beautiful swirling patterns, I had been cutting out some kindness baubles (see below) and the left over material was uncannily star-shaped. Once the paint was dry we stencilled with silver paint: all the children exhibited great control over the cans and the result was impressive. The children especially loving the spacey look of it when I held it up: we'll have to do more next year...
The used shapes did not go to waste however, they were put up on our skylight!
The kindness baubles came from an idea inspired from my Mum's playgroup to promote kind thoughts, actions and deeds. Each snack time we discussed how we can be kind to others, after we had had some ideas then I said the kind things that I had seen happen during the session and wrote them out to be hung up with our other decorations. The children came up with lots of great ideas and the idea will be coming back in various form during the next to keep promoting our "Play, Share and Take Care" charter.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year and exciting for both the children and adults and it has been so enjoyable working as a group to create the festive feeling.
To finish, and as an interesting point of discussion I think we need to be considering how Christmas gets presented to our children, particularly as they get to the ages of 3-4 and understand what this day represents, not as a religious holiday, but as a cultural event. I was talking to one parent who was felt that her son was getting more and more worn out each day in the run up to the 25th and it didn't seem a coincidence that this was the first year he appeared to have 'got' Christmas, in fact all of our older children were far more aware of the concept of "x number of sleeps until Christmas" and as the last week passed, they were bouncing higher and further off of the walls (I'm just glad they took their shoes off first).The charged energy was palpable in the room* and I've been considering further how healthy this is for young people; with shops starting the advertising drive from Autumn, sales, media and the access that young people have to this I think it's vital that we keep promoting the ethos of this festive season as one of giving, kindness, valuing others and the enjoyment of celebration wherever we may be and whoever we may be with. What are your thoughts?
Have yourselves a very merry festive season, be kind, stay safe and here's to a fantastic 2013!
* I'm convinced that children's perception of the weekend is already cementing itself around this age as well.