“We Make the Road by Walking” – Proposal of the Japan Exploration
Written by Elaine Beltran.
The school proposed Japan as a topic to explore through the arts. This proposal invites educators and children to carry on research together, creating space for different knowledge and questions that we have, teachers, children and parents alike.
This is an enriching opportunity to engage in dialogue about experiences, art medium, techniques, but most of all, it invites wonder and research.
As I understand it, Fernanda invited teachers select a topic, medium or experience that connects with the on-going curriculum in the classroom, inviting connections, analogies, new skills and connections with people and things. If done in isolation, the topic becomes alien to all, disrupting the ways that we make meaning, bringing what we know, generating questions and listening to what others bring to us. As Paulo Freire conveys: “Everybody knows something”.
Fernanda proposed topics such as dolls, cooking, karaoke, orgami, Japanese painting, lanterns, and gardens. This offers many possibilities to the teachers to weave this proposal into their on-going curriculum. As an example, Luana’s class is studying trees. Why not consider cherry trees blossoms which is often represented in Japanese art? Some classrooms are investigating animals. It would be lovely to explore origami to represent them.
Fernanda highlighted the documentation of the process on the observation sheets that she distributed. This is an important part of the process, as these observations inform the educator about what is happening in the classroom to then make choices about next steps. I invite you to take pictures to add to these sheets to better inform your practice, but to also communicate process to parents. We could have slide shows of children at work during the exhibit.
In addition, Fernanda proposed a documentation wall to make the process visible to the children. A large white sheet in a corner of the room would work. Photos, children’s work and notes could be added. As well, Fernanda suggested a memory table to display artefacts, children’s work and books to keep the topic alive in children’s minds.
I invite you to think about the following:
- How can this become meaningful to toddlers? The concept of country is alien to this age group. What would be appropriate open-ended experiences that challenge but respects the way they live and learn?
- How will we select the experiences that connect with the ongoing explorations in the classroom?
- Are we going to be attentive to the process, beyond the product for the exhibit?
- Are we going to have discussions with the children sharing their processes, inviting their perspectives, having conversations, repeating experiences?
- Are there story books, field trips, guest speakers (parents?) and Japanese artists that could mentor the process?
- What are your questions?
A new project may bring some tension at the start but it may also engender a space of research, attention to each other, beauty and collaboration.
Take the first steps with curiosity and enthusiasm to start making this road!
Road Haiku – Poem by Chenou Liu
fork in the road…
standing still to hear
Para saber mais sobre o nosso projeto de artes, clique aqui, e para ler o primeiro relato da nossa assessora de artes Fernanda Assumpção, clique aqui, e para ler o relato da nossa Diretora Pedagógica, Maria João, clique aqui.