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Christmas is coming

The goose is getting fat

It's time to get the glitter out

And make a Christmas hat.

Let's make some cards,

A calendar,

An ornament or two.

But do we let the freedom flow

Or tell the children what to do?

"We'll make a Father Christmas card:

his hat - it must be red.

Use cotton wool to make his beard -

No! Don't put it on his head!

His face - it must be smiling,

And also very round.

His boots they must be shiny

With his feet upon the ground.

His eyes must have a twinkle.

His tummy must be fat.

We'll write our message in the card -

Not like this! Like that!

Now add a bit of sparkle,

Produce a bit of shine.

Now he's finished! Put him up

with the other twenty-nine." :o

 

 

Bit of a discussion point really... We currently have a couple of days in the week when we have students in, and my nursery nurse keeps telling me we should utilise them to cut out templates in preparation for Christmas. So far I've been asking them to work on set activities or with certain groups of children; one's ok, the other isn't great at all, but then, they're only 16 and perhaps need more guidance than I've been giving them. I told my nursery nurse I'd be thinking about Christmas planning over the holidays, so for now I'm happy with the existing situation. Part of the issue is that if I'm using them for resource production, I may be missing out on valuable opportunities for having an adult (sort of) working with children, who could potentially be bringing on the children's development in a whole host of areas.

 

What I really want to know is how you all approach the massive Christmas production line in your nurseries and reception classes. I realise that there is mega-loads to do in the run-up to Christmas, and having templates may make things easier. However, I'm also not too keen on templates as they stunt children's own creativity and imaginations. Should I be using templates, but giving children free-reign on how they decorate them? Should I use no templates at all? I'm in a bit of a quandry and could use some advice!

 

Also, what sorts of crafts & activities will people be doing with their littlens?

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Guest alisonjayne

I do not like templates and have only sucummed to them once since starting the job last Setember (I cut out the stars whilst muttering under my breath and gritting my teeth). Our Christmas card last year was based on the book Thread bear all the children made bears with a button for the eye and a patch on the paw,some made them move by using split pins. They were all individual we then made chimney stacks and they decorated them again as they wanted. The feed back from the parents was good with several of them saying my child didn't do that themselves did they?

We have also this week created some fantastic pumpkin pictures, an adult sat with the children talking about the shapes and colours they could see and by offering them a limited palette of coloured pastels the finished results were just amazing.

last year we also used potato prints and hand prints to create reindeer calenders the children used these in their own way and added googly eyes and a red finger print created the nose, again these were very individual some had one reindeer whilst others created a whole herd of them.

its amazing when we looked at these altogether as the children could nearly always spot the ones that they had done.

look forward to hearing other peoples ideas too.

Ali

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we use a mixture of both...

cards can be very individual and colourful collage work, give the card and bits and pieces and let them go.... some end up looking very designer and minimal others so over the top but very different......we ahve occasionally cut this to repersent a snow man or santa but again never dictate what they decorate this with, or where to put the colours or features.

 

often a model is made of somethign like a crhistmas tree....children using imagination and junk model materials, paint etc.....

 

we do not make calendars......

 

make a letter for santa...cut out pictures from catalogues etc

 

table decorations....lumps of clay with a candle stuck in teh top surrounded by greenery or pasta or whatever......sometimes painted...sometimes not.....

 

depending on childrens religion...we have had to steer away from father christmas for some years...and one year based everything around winter so all children could participate..

 

we do not insist every child makes every item (no lists here!)....perhaps occasionally the card but everything else is free choice and if they do not make one item they will always make a different one another day....

 

we feel Christmas should be fun and not a set of must makes or do it this way. often a make will be decided on the morning depending on children we all have ideas and try to follow the childrens lead

 

parents are happy with this as they can see the child did it themselves....no matter what the result

 

Inge

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Hi Chocolate girl

 

LOVe the poem! Please may I print it and display in a prominent place!

 

Personally I detest templates but accept they can have their uses (bit of a contradictory statement I suppose!)

 

The most successful thing we have done in a long time is the reindeer the children made last year.

 

They each did a foot print and hand prints, the hand prints formed the antlers and they had a choice of eyes (googly, coloured dots, paint etc etc) and a 'pom pom' nose.

 

Technically they were very similar but yet very individual at the same time.

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we use a mixture of both...

cards can be very individual and colourful collage work, give the card and bits and pieces and let them go.... some end up looking very designer and minimal others so over the top but very different......we ahve occasionally cut this to repersent a snow man or santa but again never dictate what they decorate this with, or where to put the colours or features.

 

we feel Christmas should be fun and not a set of must makes or do it this way.

Inge

41045[/snapback]

 

I'm with you on this one, Inge.

 

Paper chains with shiny paper is always fun - it's quite good for coordination and spatial/mathematical awareness too :D

We also make 3D collage pics with strips of shiny paper, tinsel and gift ribbon.

We have also made slat-dough tree decorations.

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Hi Chocolate girl

 

LOVe the poem! Please may I print it and display in a prominent place!

 

Personally I detest templates but accept they can have their uses (bit of a contradictory statement I suppose!)

 

The most successful thing we have done in a long time is the reindeer the children made last year.

 

They each did a foot print and hand prints, the hand prints formed the antlers and they had a choice of eyes (googly, coloured dots, paint etc etc) and a 'pom pom' nose.

 

Technically they were very similar but yet very individual at the same time.

41056[/snapback]

 

Go for it!

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Oh God, I HATE templates with a passion, and I hate production lines and I hate the expectations that we have from ourselves or others to produce all this stuff, if we do it all for christmas, why not Eid or Diwali or any other of the Major festivals of the major faiths represented in this country? Do we spend 2 -3 weeks on any other festivals like we do for christmas? (Sorry if I sound like Scrooge here) I think in educational seetings it should be approached in the same way we approach any festival and look at the story and beliefs behind the event, exploring the aspects of how people celebrate etc, but all the organisation of parties, assemblies, productions, cards home, gifts, and all out stress of sometimes 1/2 a term just frustrated me so much! Christmas wasn't allowed in my class until Dec 1st at the earliest!!. (OK, rant over now - feel better)

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Oh God, I HATE templates with a passion, and I hate production lines and I hate the expectations that we have from ourselves or others to produce all this stuff, if we do it all for christmas, why not Eid or Diwali or any other of the Major festivals of the major faiths represented in this country? Do we spend 2 -3 weeks on any other festivals like we do for christmas? (Sorry if I sound like Scrooge here) I think in educational seetings it should be approached in the same way we approach any festival and look at the story and beliefs behind the event, exploring the aspects of how people celebrate etc, but all the organisation of parties, assemblies, productions, cards home, gifts, and all out stress of sometimes 1/2 a term just frustrated me so much! Christmas wasn't allowed in my class until Dec 1st at the earliest!!. (OK, rant over now - feel better)

41092[/snapback]

 

 

Hear, Hear, you took the words right out of my mouth.

I am not a practising Christian, but I do beleive that the message of Christmas, the celebration of birth, the giving, not receiving are important lessons for the children to learn, especially as the whole commercial overload starts earlier and earlier every year :o

 

Peggy

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Chocolate girl, I love yout poem and I think it's message is the one you should go with.

As for your students, maybe they can focus on telling the children about their favourite christmasses and why, then encouraging conversation with the children about what they love about Christmas, to help the children represent their experiences and express and communicate their ideas ( Creative- Aspect 4).

Do any of us actually ask the children what Christmas means to them??

 

Peggy

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