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I am an NQT in a Nursery, and i am being pulled in two direstions.

On one hand the experienced nursery nurses like to do creative work for displays using templates or a very demonstrative approach. Therefore they displays will look like what they are supposed to...i.e, you can tell what the display is supposed to be. lol. For example, a snowman, a santa etc. My FS coord. is very keen on letting the children do creative things how they see fit. I can see the benefit of letting children explore creatively, and praising their effort whatever it looks like...however...do i want snowmen and penguins, or do i want brown blobs of paint? I do not have that many children who could actually paint a recognisable picture without some kind of demonstration, template, or help. Argh! How do I draw the line here? I have encouraged the children to paint using different techniques, and we do a lot of exploration of materials and they have complete freedom of the creative bar, with all its collage materials. But when it comes to displays what is best?

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First of all, I am gobsmacked your 'experienced nursery nurses' work that way!!!!!!!!

 

NEVER would I, or would I encourage any trainee or junior member of staff to work that way. What price creativity!! If you want a 'flavour' of what you intended, you could always incorporate a photo or something, but please don't stifle these children.

We have an ongoing 'Art Discovery', where we look at different famous paintings each month and encourage them to make their own interpretation. I display them all, even though a colleague has been heard describing one or two as 'not good enough' :o

 

Sorry, that may not be exactly what you wanted, but it's my philosophy! So I come down firmly on creativity for most displays. They can always put the other stuff in 'work folders'.

 

Sue :D

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Oh Tracy I sympathise!

 

I an not a teacher but am involved in creative work with the children that's used for displays.

 

My overall desire is that when the display is up it looks as though it has been done by the children. After all it's a display of their work. I have seen some stunning displays but probably 90% of it was adult done :o I have an aversion to an end result being 20 snowmen all looking the same. I am not a great lover of templates either but see they can be useful sometimes. If their masterpieces are not recognisable then some adult labelling on the display makes it clear and it does wonders for their confidence when someone admires the 'blob' on the wall and (thanks to the label!!!) says "Oh what a lovely snowman!" I often think there is nothing worse than saying to a child "What's that?" when they have spent time and effort painting something.

 

We recently did a huge wedding display as part of our Celebrations topic. We had a huge roll of plain white paper that we rolled out on the flood (cut to size)

I drew a wiggly pencil line and had children either side, some were painting the sky and the others were painting the grass. We had a variety of blues and greens and they had an assortment of brushes, rollers etc. Some may say it was a splodgy end result but the children liked it :D The picutre was completed over a period of time complete with 3D church, vicar, bride and groom, bridesmaids and pageboys, car etc etc.

 

the children were then asked to paint themselves. These were then cut out and stuck on as 'guests' they had complete freedom to paint themselve how they chose. The older children's were clearly recognisable as people (in varying degress) but the tiny ones were more 'blobs' but that's what tinies do :D It has been admired and commented on by many and OK so the groom might look more like a scarescrow and the bride has the strangest shape head but the the children did it. I could have drawn them both and got the children to collage but I know which I prefer! :D

 

I visited a setting once and witnessed a 'creativity activity' and wondered what if anything the children got out of it - they were painting cars - all pre cut and the end result was a mass of cars that only varied in colour xD and they didnt even get to choose the colour!!

 

Sorry think I am prattling now but in answer to your question what is best? for me it's a combination of adult/child input where all childrens efforts are valued and the blobs displayed alongside the 'better'ones.

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In total agreement with Sue R and Greraldine Tracey, I talk to the children as they're painting and ask questions about what they are going to do next so that when the picture is completed I know what to write as the title, labeling certain bits sometimes to help adults understanding. Our local primary has some lovely displays along the corridor but if they are totally done by the children I'll eat my hat. (munch, munch) :o Their interpretation of something they've seen is so different to ours, I remember a child painting a picture of a dragon ride he'd been on at a theme park. It was all green circular brush strokes, nothing recognisable, but I was able to point out certain bits to his mom because he'd told me what he was doing at the time. I'm also as horrified as Sue R concerning the experienced NN's! xD:D

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I completley agree about children painting and making their own impressions linking to the topic.

 

Use of labelling normally helps visitors (parents!) interperet what our displays are of.

 

Very occaisionally we will ask the children to paint whole pieces of paper, using colour/materials/tools of their choice, explaining what display we will be creating, we then cut the pictures from these pieces of paper.

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Sorry, Tracey,

My response was not totally considered, as i was so upset that NNs worked this way. It is totally against the training I (and presumably at least Rea !)received.

 

I would also use Rea's technique - talk, so you know what is going on, then label, helpfully. As for your question, well, yes, if pushed, I'd have to say some are not quite to my way of thinking! But, then I don't know the background to the displays!! The children could be older/very capable..... ...Please don't ask for examples, because I won't be drawn. I was talking beliefs and philosophy.

 

Sue :)

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Not sure if my attaching abilities will be successful!

 

I think I have mentioned this story before somewhere :o Ages ago when doing light/dark, we had been talking about day and night and the children had the choice of creating a picture (of anything they liked) either in the day time or at night. They had a wide choice of resources and one little boy chose to paint a picture of a cat in a tree in his garden during the day. Mid way through he changed his mind and decided it was night time. I hope you can see the activity in progress in the attachment. His completely black piece of paper was put on display and in case you cant read the label it says, "My cat up a tree in my garden but you can't see it because it's night time!"

day_to_night__.doc

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I agree almost entirely, however... I do like to talk to children sometimes about what they are doing and through their talk and my questioning, and sometimes (only sometimes) make suggestions or show them a technique. Showing children a new skill such as making a simple pop-up, or how to turn a pencil on it's side, or smudge chalk, encourages them to experiement further. I often observe children learning and modifying their work by observing what another child is doing, they think it looks good so they have a go themselves. I do think that young children's creative work is so much more imaginative and creative than that of most adults, who just want things to look 'right'.

As an aside - I noticed this week some Xmas decorations done by a junior class on the theme of nursery rhymes- all coloured in identical photocopied soldiers and horses - dreadful- my Reception would have made a much jollier version thant that.

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Forgot to say about talking to the children :o I echo the sentiments already expressed. We encourage the children without putting ideas in their head,

when they painted themselves (not literally!!!!) there was adult support and scaffolding but not outright suggestions or ideas. Sure you know what I mean :D !!

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We talk children through sometimes. If it is free choice painting then the paints and brushes are there and they are left to do whatever they want. We may, though, talk through if they are painting say a picture of themselves. So we would ask what shape is your head? What colour eyes have you got etc? We often have a mirror there for them to look into.

I occasionally have to tell staff not to move something when they are gluing because they have stuck it in "the wrong" place. It's their work and that's how they see it.

And, of course, the way to get round finding out what they have painted just ask them to tell you about their picture. It must be so frustrating for them when they have produced a masterpiece and somebody says "What have you painted" because to them it is so obvious.

Linda

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As I cant draw, and Im not just being modest, I use the childrens work but it can be difficult!! As has been discussed its the labelling etc that makes the display. I think there is a place for using templates sometimes especially for work like the jointed Santas that have been recently discussed and I too, Tracey, have worked with NN who draw for the children, both recently trained and more experienced. xD This is a difficult issue now in terms of the Teacher Workload Agreement and that teachers should not do displays and your schools approach on this will determine how you manange this! Sounds like you will need to lead by example though so good luck! :o

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Geraldine, that picture is marvellous. We had a little boy once who painted his piece of paper black and when I asked him to tell me about it, he said it was a tunnel. I remember when I was in the infants a boy painted his blue piece of paper blue and got a real telling off by the teacher for wasting paint, it struck me then that she was wrong but I never knew why.I now know better. :D

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i agree, provide the materials and sometimes an idea and let them interpret, we do occasionally for longterm displays have them paint and us cut out for some of it but the majority is their work, with thier input - ( our dinosaur is blue and the papermache was the fun bit ) we do not change the childs work things are never in the wrong place even the mouth on the head and eyes on the chin!

 

I also feel that if writing on a childs piece of work that you must get permission from the child to do so. If you dont do this they can see it as spoiling the work and disown it. labels need to be seperate unless the child agrees. Would you like someone else writing on your beautiful artwork when you have completed it to your satisfaction?

 

Inge

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I agree with all the comments, Tracy ask your NN to read ( or re-read) the FS Curriculum guidelines on creative development, maybe look up the defenition of the word in the dictionary.

 

She should also consider the preparation time, the cutting out of all those templates, the lists to indicate who has or has not made one. etc

 

At my preschool we change the role play area into a large Santa workshop, we have different tables with different resources ie: one has cotton wool, black tissue paper, and an assortment of other papers - end result may be a snowman ( role modelled by an adult or older child) or not. Another table has glitter, tinsel, boxes, wrapping paper and card resources, which could be used for xmas tree pics, pretend presents etc. The children also have free access to paint, glue, tape, and other creative materials. They are very "busy" in the workshop and although there is some discussion and questioning from the adults, it is the language development between the children that is buzzing. Today Ana was the "Boss" "Hurry up with that we have to send it , the postmans coming soon"

 

Hope you can at least have a happy medium.

 

Peggy

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:D Your dictionary comment made me giggle Peggy!

I am in my 5th year of teaching Reception and after 4 tears of teacher training I can honestly say the importance placed on art/creative development in college was completely naff! xD I am learning far more 'on the job'. However, I do face the same problems as everyone else of getting the individuality/end result balance. A lot of this is historical isn't it? The way things 'used to be done'. We have a Creative Workshop and the children have plenty of opportunity for expressing their creativity independently but today we've been making xmas bags and I let them design them using xmas stencils-is this really bad? I feel guilty now :( !! The thing is a lot of children LIKE this kind of thing. We have one 4 year old girl who is a fantastic artist (streets ahead of me :) I'm not being sarcastic either!) but I sometimes find her 'work' in the bin. This is nothing to do with our influence over her, she really is a perfectionist and likes things to be JUST RIGHT! Apart from her though, I do worry that the reason many children enjoy things to look 'like they should look' is something they may have picked up from school and/or home. :o

Can anyone answer this? As we can't always talk to chn as they are painting their pictures, what is a more sensitive way of getting them to talk about it afterwards without saying 'what is it?' I usually say say 'tell me about your picture' but don't always have time as they bring things to show me when I am in the middle of something else but I would like to be able to quickly praise them AND make a positive comment about their work. ???????sometimes I guess and get it wrong!!

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But that's hitting the nail on the head! :) As adults we get so hung up on end products that sometimes it's easy to forget that a child can stick together a few boxes or put paint on paper just for the sheer enjoyment of it. Why does it always have to be a means to an end? However, like everything else in life I always strive for a balance - otherwise we might end up in a situation of 'creative correctness' gone mad. :oxD

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Thanks for all your replies.

 

I hink it is a tricky area to be honest. I know that the head teacher would be absolutely horrified if I were to put up 10 pieces of muddy brown A4 ...even if i had written "David's penguin" underneath! lol. I do have a creative bar, where the children can help themselves to materials, sponges, collage stuff etc. We get wonderful things. I have junk modelling available every day (we get through a huge amount!) and spaghetti, sand, wood shavings, etc I am doing an activity at the moment with salt flour dough. The children are making a decoration for the tree. Now tried to demonstrate techniques, and talk to them about decorations they have seen at home. The two boys made virtual identical cirlces, because they copied each other. Next up...little Amy, bright spark...she asked for a cookie cutter from the drawer. I asked her if she wouldn't prefer to make a shape herself, she said "no, I want the star shape from in there" and pointed to the drawer. I relented and gave her the star, her buddy then asked for the christmas tree shaped cutter! They made their decorations, and stuck little extra bits of dough on. Then the boys who had already done theirs came back and said they wanted a "proper" shape too, "they were better" they said!!

I have 12 decorations done so far 2 initial individual ones, then 8 with cutters...then another 2 for the boys using the cutters as they were not happy that i had duped them! lol. Now if my FS coord comes in, I bet she will say..."Why did you let them use cutters, they will all look to similar", but the children wanted them. Argh.

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