Creative Art Start
Program for boys and girls (ages 6 - 14 years old)


Play at Creative Art Start

A good example of how play is coordinated at an after school program when two children decided to build a cardboard house at one end of the classroom. They had access to cardboard, felt, masking tape, markers, and boxes of recycled material. Soon after they had completed the initial structure of their fort more children became interested in their activity. After a few days the building had grown into a fort and with many rooms. Each room had a different function. There was very little intervention from the teachers other than to ensure safety and providing of materials as well as giving structural suggestions when they asked for help. But this was a rare occasion. They largely resolved structural problems by themselves.

collaboraton - creative art start

The exciting learning process that emerged from this, was that the children (ages 7-9) created a whole democratic system and decision making process through collective collaboration on how to play, invent and create games in what had now become a huge fort taking up half the classroom. After about 9 days of playing in the fort, one boy decided to forego democracy and declared himself king. He made certain rooms exclusive to his friends and created a whole hierarchy in the fort. We did not intervene as teachers at this stage as we saw an important learning process emerging. What eventually transpired was that the children who had been excluded stopped participating and then proceeded to destroy the fort. This of course was a lot of fun for them as well. It was a way of also getting some of their power back.

At this stage the teachers intervened and we reflected with the boys on what had transpired and what they had learned. Play in this instance had allowed the boys to make decisions for themselves. They could begin to understand power formations, how power can be manipulated. They also learned the importance of collaboration for themselves. Through the process of play the acquired new knowledge, concepts, processes and skills on their own.

The excitement and and enthusiasm that surrounded the process of collaborating and playing in the fort is still reflected on and discussed by the children a year later and has became a lasting memory for them.




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