Session Nine ‘Being Brave’

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Artist: Helen Barry

Teacher: Bríd McGovern

Class: Junior Infants (4&5yrs)

School: Our Lady Of Mercy School Convent

In our previous session the children really enjoyed leading the design and build of their structures. They had worked in small teams of 5 or 6. Further developing from this we invited the children to construct on a bigger scale in two larger groups. I was a little apprehensive about this as this demands communication and compromise that can often be extremely challenging for 5 and 6 year olds- hence the title for this!

Equipped with our materials we embarked on our constructions. Design would be key but getting an agreed design was definitely a challenge. For the most part the construction happened first that then set the direction for the build and builder as it progressed. Both Bríd and I were fully active and completely hands on participants for the entire session. I think one of the main challenges was communicating an idea to more than 4 or 5 others was almost impossible without intervention from Bríd and I. We each worked with a group.

The builds clearly became very different. One was extremely long and their ambition was to ensure that the entire group could fit it in at one time, a little like being on a train together. The other build centred on providing a structure or environment similar to a house. It had key rooms like the a kitchen, bedroom and a ‘cinema’. This group role-played quite extensively once we were finished the builds. It is very important to give the children the time to play in their constructions before we deconstruct.

If I were to do this again I would use the approach of the previous session, where the groups were smaller which allowed the children more control over the design and build. Using the approach of this session demanded that Bríd and I were too involved in some of the decision-making, taking away from the ownership the children had of their work in Session 8.

After the clean up I secured the colourful

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