Tales from the Lakes Nature Group
It was a fantastic journey based on our curiosity and wonder:
How we as a nature group could become even better at using the forest's most amazing and subtle trees, with a particular focus on how the children could find new approaches to using the forest's trees!
In the same spirit as our wondering, we also wanted the children in the nature group to be introduced to one of our cultural treasures in the Skive region: the artist Jeppe Aakjær.!
This wish came because we are convinced that it is important that the children get the experience that there has been a time before us. We believe that this helps to strengthen their formative processes.
We got the artist from Skive Pia Viborg on the LEGEKUNST journey!
In one of the actions, we visited Jeppe Aakjær's home JENLE, it was a fantastic aesthetic tour where many of the children's senses came out in their finest bloom! Before the tour we had talked about Jeppe, seen pictures, heard stories and most importantly the children had heard the story of OLE from the song: "Ole sat on a bun and sang" As we walk out at Jenle and see a bench near the fjord - says one of our boys: "Rikke - I think this is where Jeppe Aakjær sat and made up his songs." I was almost moved and determined by the idea that it is important to give children the experience that there was a time before us and that art comes from somewhere! Imagine that little boy just imagining Jeppe sitting there making up a song!
The children were very interested in Aakjær and his life with his children and his wife Marie, who was also an artist, because she was good at working in wood and the children were very fascinated by the flowers Marie had carved and painted in the Mill.
It was through the flowers that we experienced a very special COLLABORATION 1) between artist - children, 2) artist - educators and 3 )children - children and finally 4) educator - children!
The artist seized the children's curiosity and fascination for the flowers and suggested that we should paint these beautiful flowers at home in the kindergarten and finally paint them on our WINNING GAME!
We educators had a little trouble figuring out how to get 3 - 6 year olds to paint such flowers?
If we hadn't had an artist involved in the project, we would never have started it ourselves - but we did! We were ALL pope proud and a learning richer for daring to capture the slightly extreme and together find a solution to how we express ourselves! This was a clear aesthetic process namely that impressions came to expression!
The actions around the WINNINGSHOT
During all actions we have been very conscious of the playful atmosphere, that it should be the children's interest in the project that should be the main element and that there was room for adjustments and new ideas!
The above worked well for us as the artist was on board with this idea, at the same time the artist was keen for the children to have an opportunity to get to know her and vice versa, it wasn't really a "must at first" but we found out through the co-creation that the relationship between children - artist was extremely important to the project, or so we knew, but it became more apparent to us.
So the fact that at the beginning of the project we invested time together to go to the woods and find sticks for the wind game and together were occupied by the sounds of the sticks, it gave us all space for very special atmospheres between all of us and especially artist and children! These atmospheres and the educational potential that was seen in the stories of Jeppe Aakjær made us have a very special shared universe, it was an aesthetic journey!
A look into our reflections:
The artist says that the children have definitely become better at painting, it is fun to experience the approach the artist had to the actions where we painted the sticks and the craftsmanship the artist possessed to develop the children in their way of painting! We will definitely take this learning into our educational practice.
It has been a long process, with several actions and the play and co-creation has come quietly. It has been a gift to experience the children also possessed a patience in being in a longer process and their empathy that things take time, it is incredibly nice of them we think! Occasionally we assembled the wind chimes on the ground and this process the children were very engaged in and showed great ownership and pride in seeing the wind chimes lying there assembled!
Below is a small photo series of the process.
The children showed us that they were proud to create something together in the process, they created together and thereby we strengthened the children's environment in the group, it was really great to experience.
We saw that all children had participation opportunities in the actions and it was fun, no stress or focus on the product but the product came in a "nice way" along the way!
There is no doubt that we adults in the nature group have become even more curious about it, or all the qualities that art has to create some of the best developmental conditions for the children, to see how the children thrive, develop, learn and form through such co-creative and aesthetic processes and really without the children noticing; that we adults are out to provide them with the above developmental conditions and at the same time it helps to strengthen the children's environment! Finally, it gives us adults the skills to work with aesthetic processes in the future!
Now that's ART at its finest!
On the roads of the Lærkeredens Nature Group
Pedagogue; Rikke Markussen Jensen