Nature and our courtyard garden have been a consistent point of reference and connection throughout our research and discoveries into our collective understanding of creativity. We have constantly sought opportunities for deepening this connection whenever and wherever possible.
I see creativity when we are looking in the garden. Arlo
I see creativity when I look around me in the play area, at nature to help me create. Oscar
Earlier this year, Astrid and Albie brought in nests they had discovered with their families. These nests were met with great enthusiasm by many preps across the neighbourhood. This led to the creation of nests, research about how birds create their nests, and the spontaneous idea of drawing and collecting 100 birds in the Studio.
Albie- I think creativity is when, like, you make a bird’s nest that is, like, complicated.
Leo- I know what complicated means. It is something that is hard.
Leo- The bird’s nest took a long time to make.
Max K- Well a bird’s nest, well if you had another friend helping you, who was an expert in bird’s nests, you would be able to finish it in 20 days and it would be better than if you did it by yourself.
The garden, in the courtyard, has hosted many provocations for creating, including planting new seedlings or cuttings, drawing maps of the garden, planning to improve it, and creating signs to keep it protected.
A Conversation from Our Garden
Astrid- We need to not stand on our plants.
Zion- Don’t pull the plants out.
Agnes- You shouldn’t pick the petals of the flowers.
Nina – We should attract bees.
Max K- We can bring stuff from our home to make it look better like rocks and logs and plants.
Albie- This might be a bird attractor thing… We could plant sunflowers.
Nina- We could water the garden.
Elena- Give the garden water.
Toby- Don’t let the flowers die.
Agnes- We can copy the plants and paint them.
Max – We could hang up the art in the garden.
Still-life drawing in the studio has been a constant source for creative output with nature as the main impetus.
Children were quick to connect the life’s work of Leonardo Da Vinci and his observations of nature as inspiration in his art and experiments. Students are beginning to notice how nature inspires us to innovate and change.
Da Vinci spied (observed) bones and things from nature. Emily
Da Vinci makes things up…shapes, patterns, inventions…maybe poems! Eren and co.
Da Vinci wanted to fly. Zion and Matilda
Students also began to understand the importance of collecting and developing their thinking or ideas as a result of looking at Da Vinci’s journals.
Da Vinci makes mistakes but he moves to a new place in his journal to try again. Amie
After much discussion about the what and why of Da Vinci’s sketches and notes in his journals, we collectively concluded, Da Vinci asks questions and asks more questions. He tries and tries again. Looking, listening, questioning, doing…and trying all over again! We felt DaVinci was a positive role model for our creativity and began to commit our efforts in this way.
Throughout the year, in the Construction Space, preps have been drawn to including natural elements in their constructions. This has come in the form of adding leaves or flower petals for decoration, building structures that connect nature to man-made places, building natural scapes to be used as settings for stories, reimagining animals or features of animals within built creations, and much more.
This attraction to nature became even more observable recently, during remote learning when preps were provoked to find and create beauty within constructed, human-made things. In response, children excitedly shared posts filled with natural elements, profoundly making connections between nature and beauty.
As the educators guiding and provoking the inquiries into creativity, we very quickly recognised the potential that nature, and indeed our garden, could offer. As a way to further these inquiries into creativity and nature, we began to look for expert perspectives and real-world applications. We thought we had found a place where we could combine many of the ideas emerging when we discovered an educational offering at the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne. Filled with excitement and potential we booked an excursion. Unfortunately, that excursion was cancelled due to our current COVID restrictions. However, the kind people at The Royal Botanical Gardens, contacted us with an opportunity to postpone our excursion until Term 4, whilst also offering us a digital opportunity planned and created with remote learning in mind. We readily accepted. We strengthened this opportunity with a series of nature and garden-based provocations from each of the spaces.
The new learning and thinking from our digital excursion has continued to deepen our understandings of creativity and nature. The possibilities for translating this understanding to our courtyard garden are both exciting and filled with authentic learning opportunities. We are looking forward to Term 4 and making the most of springtime.