Session Two: Learning to use shorter sentences

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At our last session one of the children, Nathan had suggested that we use drawings of our hands and feet in the piece we would create today. My intention initially suggested by the children was to create a warren of transparent tunnels that we would use to begin to explore space, construction and installation art. Again I wanted to use a strong element of play as a way of working with the children. Most of my work with children in primary schools had been with senior infants and first class, both groups familiar with the structure and routine of school. Junior infants are a new group and they themselves are only becoming acquainted with school and managing the huge leap from being at home, crèche or pre-school groups to school. If I had thoughts that this transition would hinder their confidence or their ability to know their own minds, session two made it very clear that the children would have no problem in letting me know if they didn’t like where I was taking things.

Session Two began with us drawing around and cutting out our feet, hands and heads. The intention was to put these aside and start to construct our warren but the children wanted to draw details on their body parts. It seems very important to the children to be allowed to draw on everything and to taking the drawings home. Though they are physically here at the school much of their conversation and attention to what they are doing is actually focused on home and family.

During the break I divided up the space using the tables to create corridors and tunnels similar to a maze for the children to play in and explore. As I am only just getting to know the children I am leaving it up to the teacher to pair up and group the children as she inevitably understands the dynamic of the class and which children will work best together. This is extremely important as many of the children do not have English as their first language and we are relying on the children themselves to assist us with communicating with everyone in the class.

During the session I felt that we were not progressing through our activities as quick as I had thought we would. Instead it was the children who set the pace and decided what they wanted to spend time on. There was a lot of laughter and attention on drawing. This enabled me to spend more quality time getting to know the children, learning how to focus their attention and laughing with them. I have also learnt that I need to give direction and explain things using much shorter sentences.

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