Earlier this week I took the film into school so that any children who wanted to look at the film were able to. We made a little dark room using blackout material to be our cinema. It was very intimate, only four at a time could squeeze in, but I really liked this as it meant there could be a bit of chat as the film was showing, but without it getting too distracting. The small dark space combined with light being projected through the small projector was exciting, and there was a lot of experimenting with the beam of light in terms of creating shadows.
Category Archives: Reflections
Since the children have started to take photographs themselves some interesting things have happened. First, children are quickly picking up techniques (and often they pass this knowledge on to others, showing them how to use the camera). I heard Robyn telling someone to stay still; “because otherwise it’ll be all blurry”, and as she said blurry she waved her hand about to demonstrate what she meant. Jo asked Amber how she knew she was ready to take the picture and Amber said it depended on what she was photographing, if it was an object she tried to make sure all the sides of it were inside the LCD screen, but if it was a picture of the room, she made sure the picture looked how she wanted it to.
Also very soon some children wanted to take pictures of other children. I noticed on a couple of occasions that a child protested about having their picture taken and I reminded the person with the camera that taking a photo was like taking something away from someone and that they had to ask first. Some children said no when they were asked, and then the photographer just asked someone else.
I talked to Jo about taking pictures and we wondered if taking a photograph is a kind of collecting. I have now started to get the children to download the pictures to a computer so they can decide which of their photos they keep and which they delete.
Last week my thoughts were all about ownership and wanting an object. I am beginning to see that certain children are attracted to certain kinds of objects. Some objects seem to be powerful agents: the piece of cloth to rub chalk out on the blackboard, my camera, the chalet music box, my laptop. Not all children are especially attracted to these, but they do seem to be desirable objects and things that particular children will grab out of someone’s hand. My job has become one of reminding children that they must ask if they want something that someone else has. If there is conflict over the objects (and there often is when someone has grabbed something from a tray, or out of a hand) I help to resolve this by restating the need to ask before taking. I also say that when you ask, the person will not necessarily want to give the object over. However I find myself being surprised at how often the children are able to negotiate taking an object from someone else, either when they say how much they want it; or by exchanging something else instead.
The trays and the baskets have become a kind of boundary of a temporary collection. Leila called me outside to “look at my collection”, which turned out to be pieces of ice collected from inside the tyres outside, that she was placing on a tray. Other children started to take bits of ice from her tray and she became upset. We talked about needing to ask her first Soon other children were making their own ice collections, and some let others have pieces from their collections.
I am thinking that it is important to have precious objects to handle and play with whether they are bits of ice or cameras even if its hard managing the conflict and the need to look after the object itself. But it needs so much time and patience, things that adults like me don’t have enough of most of the time.
threading things through holes
fingers and thimbles go together
Today I was fascinated at the way the objects became one thing and then another. I had started to get used to the idea that the small objects in the draws were good for making flat arrangements on the trays; a kind of temporary collage that could be captured in a photograph before the things were put back in their draws. However, a few children began to use the yellow wirey sticks to thread buttons onto and then this turned into threading keys, so the keys ended up on a key ring, the shape of the key leading to it being right for threading onto a ring. Just like the thimbles which were often being put on fingers; thimbles are for fingers of course. But then someone suggested they use the thimbles to be money, as it was like a shop and objects were being collected in baskets for buying. “No, they can’t be money, they are cups” was the response. Next thing the spoons were stirring all the things in the basket and suddenly there was food cooking, and I was being offered food to eat. “Here eat this bear” as I was offered a small teddy bear to eat. Everything is so fluid, one material becomes somethings else, and the stories that are told are always on the move.