Most early years classes have got something like this table. Certainly all four of our pre-K and Kindergarten classes have. This is what continuous provision is all about: a place where children can return again and again and make something, trying out new ideas, combining things they’ve done before, learning from each other.
Since they came to the school when they were three, R and K have been doing this. They're not the only ones, but let's focus on them for now. They're four years old; they've been in Moon class for 15 months. R at first stood out as leader of the duo, always inventive, always relishing what she does. But K seems to be inspired by her to be similarly creative, making things that are distinctive to her, having her own strengths and emphases.
An example, back in September: R's envelope-picture:
What kind of mathematics are present in creating this? An awareness of bringing the corners into the middle of the paper to reorient the square and create triangular flaps. A lot of spatial thinking. An example might be the awareness that when you fold the paper over once, the back of the folded paper faces the same way as the front. She is probably aware that the orientation of the square changes too: first it was in a 'diamond' orientation, now it's in the conventional orientation. She'll be aware that the small square is made up of four triangles. And that there are diagonal lines across the square that meet in the centre. She's aware that some things can be undone, or almost undone. Pencil can be rubbed out. Cuts can be taped together again. And some things can't be undone. The felt pen drawing can't be rubbed out very easily.
At the same time, K was doing some folding too:
These paper explorations contrast with art activities that use specifically 'art' materials, painting in particular. There seems to be more of a tinkering feel, more mixing. Take R here, where she’s decided to draw round the scissors, drawn and colored in a pill shape, written a little, filled a rectangle…
There’s also the sense of self-efficacy, of choosing a project, seeing it through to completion, working alongside others and learning from each other. There’s a kind of joy in the workshop ambience, in having control and making together and separately.