Visit our websiite at www.artandsoulpreschool.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Creating with Clay



Back in December we started working with clay at school.  The children made wonderful holiday gifts to give to their families.  Each time I write about the children working with clay I probably say the same thing, it is a magical medium.  The kids are filled with excitement and their focus during their time with the clay is amazing.  We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to fire our clay projects to which I owe my husband a big thanks!


My 3-5 year olds made vases and the 2 1/2- 3 1/2 year olds made pinch pot candle holders.
The first group started their project by rolling out a slab of clay.










After rolling out the clay, they would cut the extra
off.

They then would hammer down the sides so the clay would not be too thick at the seams.


The children also learned how to attach two pieces of clay together by scoring and then applying a watered down clay called slip (clay glue) to the pieces they wanted to attach together.  In this case it was the edges at the seam.

 
They then smoothed down the edge with a rubber rib.


Taking the extra clay from their vase, they would stand their project up on top of the slab and trace the bottom.  Again they would attach their bottom by slipping and scoring the bottom on.

It is a very involved process, but I was so impressed with their patience, ability, and concentration.

The children then had the opportunity to use a face mold, or stamping tools to decorate their vases.  Many loved the face mold.

A very focused little girl adding her face to her vase.

Again, I loved watching them work, they are all so capable and they take so much pride in their work.




All very unique and beautiful!

My littlest students also loved working with the clay.  They created pinch pots, and I don't know if it is their small hands or the ability to not overwork the clay, but my preschool students have always made better pinch pots then my high school students ever did!




   A pinch pot is a simple process, but it is easy to mess them up.  The children would take a ball of clay and press their thumb down the center of the ball.  They then slowly turned the clay in their hands as they pinch the sides.





As a final touch before we fired their pinch pots, they chose some items they wanted to press into the clay for decoration.



We ran out of time to glaze them this year, but I think they still came out great with paint on them.

 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's Cooking?

It is hard to believe it has been three weeks since we began our cooking exploration at school, but time has a way of flying this time of year.


On the Thursday before Thanksgiving the children worked together to create "Stone Soup."  
This idea comes from a wonderful book Ms. Tricia brought in, and is about sharing and bringing a village together when they partake in the making of stone soup.
It was also a wonderful way to bring our little school village together.

Each child brought in a vegetable to share and add to the soup.  The children also made our school bread for the gathering.   

 Later that day parents were invited to come and join us for soup.


The children were very excited about making the soup, and so proud of the vegetables they brought in to share.

The night before I had made a vegetable stock to use for our soup.  Then we began our soup by adding three stones as they did in the story (the stones were boiled for 20 minutes and cleaned thoroughly ;)

 At first the children seemed skeptical about the stones, but at the same time were very intrigued.

They also loved it when they saw their reflections on the lid of the crock pot after we put it on.  

As the children joined in free-play they were called in a couple at a time to  help cut and add their vegetables to the soup.


We started with onions and tried a trick one of the parents shared about having a glass of water nearby to help with the tears,  Although we did cry a little, I think it helped.

Next carrots, celery, tomatoes, corn and potatoes.



Our last ingredient was parsley, which this little one was very excited about.  
Compliments to our 3 year old photographer I.P., for these photos!

Of course stirring the soup was a well loved job.

The children also  made our school bread to go along with the soup. 
Making bread is a weekly activity, but we have been so busy this year, that this was our first time making bread for the year.  They of course loved it and keeping with our tradition, we will continue to make bread two days a week for the rest of the school year.  More on bread making a little further into this post.

 The children ran off to play and we left our soup to cook for two hours, or at least we thought we did...

...The tables were almost set and we went to check on the soup and discovered, the plug had been pulled on the crock pot!  We didn't have soup after all, we had cold vegetables in warm vegetable broth!  I could not have been more thankful for the understanding humors of the wonderful parents of Art and Soul.  So together we said our school grace and dined on bread and cut up left over celery and carrots.  


 Despite the lack of soup, we had a nice time and were thankful for what we did have.

I also wanted to write about our other adventures into cooking.

As I wrote early in the post we have started out bread making at school.  I love making this bread with the children because they feel such a sense of accomplishment when they know they are eating snack made from their very own hands.  It is also a wonderful way to bring awareness about where our food comes from  and  what is involved in making food, in particular with our bread, the math and physical labor involved.  You can get to our recipe by clicking on the link from an older post here:

One of the other aspects of this process that I love is that the children have to work on patience as each child gets a turn to measure and pour.  They also have to wait for the yeast to activate, or as we say "bubble and fizz."
Here they are waiting for the yeast to activate.

 Once all the bread is mixed, I think their favorite part is  kneading the dough.

We even took a quick field-trip downstairs to see where the bread is baked. They were impressed with the oven, and as a couple students shared: S.S."That is one big oven!"   A.C: "Yeah, I wouldn't want to go in there." R.F: "No way!" M.A.: "It looks very hot!" 

Real life cooking is not the only cooking that has been taking place at school, playing in the dramatic play kitchen and mud kitchen are always popular areas at the school.

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to make mud pies, so naturally having a mud kitchen at school was a must.  Here are some pictures of the children cooking in the mud kitchen on a very rainy day.
 They had lots of ingredients on this day; mud and water, leaves and grass, all the essential ingredients for some very fine cooking.

Some very patient diners waiting for their food at the restaurant, or as many of my students call it, 
"Rest-ur-not."
A blurry, but wonderful picture showing the joy and hustle and bustle taking place in the kitchen. 
 I think this was the moment when the rain began to pour down, but fortunately we remained dry. 



We always say "too many cooks in the kitchen" at family gatherings because it is hard to manage, but I must say, this crew did very well maneuvering around each other as they worked.

Luckily, if they had to wash their hands on this day, they just stuck them out in the rain.

Speaking of "Rest-ur-nots," I will finish this post with some of the happenings that have been taking place in the classroom play kitchen and school restaurant, which was a lovely idea of Ms. Tricia's and a new addition to the classroom.

Some diners enjoying their food at the restaurant.

 This little guys in the midst of his meal had to excuse himself to take a phone call.

One of our waitresses decided to eat a slice of pizza while taking other's orders, later she got dressed up to serve the food.

Our Babies had to be fed as well.

Some called in their orders for pick up.

 On another day, others dined on a huge serving of beans.

A very busy waitress, she not only served the food but cooked it as well.

One of the new elements to this play that I think the children enjoyed the most was using the notepad to take orders.

 

Danielle: "E.K, what did they order?"

E.K.:  " I need these and this." (Begins picking up spoons and checking off things on his notepad.)  I did two, two, and two ." (Points to his notepad and checks off more items.)
Danielle: Where did you put the two?

E.K: "At the table."
S.S: "Um, E.K., can I have this now?" (Referring to the notepad)
E.K: "Sure"
S.S: "I have to take an order."



Danielle: "S.S., I think I.P. is ready to order."
S.S.: "I can't ask her can you?   I am too shy."
Danielle: "Sure, I can help.  I.P, S.S. would like to know what you would like to order."
I.P.: "I would like oranges."
S.S.: "OK, I can get that for you."

A small conversation, but a lovely look into how the children interact with each other during their restaurant play.

I titled this post, "What's Cooking?" and to answer that after a rather long post I would have to say, 
"a lot!"