The Story of Prep- A Wonderful Year?

Welcome to our last learning blog for 2020. We would like to express that despite the complexities brought on by Covid 19 our  time in the Prep Neighbourhood has been one of momentous growth, curiosity and exploring new ways to learn together as a community.  Together we have learned many new things that will be integrated into The Story of Prep.  Thank you for your continued support.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been exploring The Story of Prep. This has culminated in the creation and production of a series of postcards to represent this idea and to help next year’s prep make the transition to PHPS.  We have also continued to use multiple languages to explore our thinking about Covid our time in lockdown in Melbourne. We have been lucky enough to have the addition of artists, Hannah, Darren, Deb and Emily to help us encounter new languages and materials.

Here are some snippets from our learning stories….

Continuing the exploration of the sound of covid and covid sound capturing machines….

We continued to be interested in the way our children were using their familiarity and feelings of success with materials to foster new understandings and ideas about covid. 

We decided to re-introduce a very familiar material. We gave the children clipboards and fineliners and together with Deb our resident music artist they explored their theories and designs for the sound of covid and the machines to capture this sound. 

Each week both Deb and Emily continued to explore the children’s understandings of their complex year through a variety of encounters with music or sound, languages and ‘materials’ they were less familiar with.  We also provided opportunities for the children to use their ‘successful’ and familiar materials, including block construction, to engage with these ideas. The intersubjectivity of materials? 

We wonder about the significance of familiar materials in helping children to explore complex concepts and challenging  experiences. We also wonder about the way one familiar material can ‘talk’ to a new less familiar material. Do children use their prior knowledge with one language when encountering new languages and materials?

Using Photography to explore The Story of Prep….

After several conversations with our children, it was decided that we could produce and gift a series of postcards to next year’s preps. Now we needed to research what would go onto the postcards. What would be the best way to convey the story of prep to these new children?

Over the next weeks our children spent time with Hannah, our art teacher and Darren, the photographic artist in residence exploring the ‘story of prep’ through photography. 

Back in the Neighbourhood…..

Meanwhile throughout our spaces we created a number of provocations with different materials, creating a sense of the story of prep. The children drew images of the spaces in fine liner and watercolour, they created maps in clay, they produced puppet plays and created dinosaur and still life artworks to share on the postcards. The children also began to explore what would be written on the back of the postcards. What messages in writing would best tell the story of prep. We hypothosised that the languages of art were now talking to and supporting the language of writing. Again this idea of the intersubjectivity of languages arose. This authentic and intersubjective writing opportunity provided moments of growth for many in our neighbourhood.  

After weeks of Neighbourhood research into the story of prep, the postcards were carefully selected, written and were ready to send to all the new families in our community.

As the year was coming to its natural end and we were beginning to collate and analyse all the documentation for this project, something unexpected happened. A group of children were focussed on the still life table in the studio, a language they had been building strength and confidence with, when one of the children spontaneously asked me if they could draw the coronavirus. They began to use the materials from the still life table to express their new feelings about the virus since Melbourne’s successes. Again we were struck by the children’s ability to use art languages, and their growing familiarity with the materials, to process their thoughts. 

The coronavirus is big then small.    Chloe

The corona virus gets better.    Esther