Teacher Tom's thoughts
I agree that no goals are needed. Give children clay and they’ll squeeze, poke, pound and in the meantime tell you a lot about what it is they are making. Sometimes there isn’t a lot of dialogue because they are so focused on the medium itself, how it feels, smells and what if will shape at their will.
Children can be given a rubber mallet to pound the clay, give them lids and pipe cleaners, nuts, seeds - anything with texture and they’ll experiment with the designs. Even fun sneaker soles create great textures when pressed into clay and can begin a whole new variety of designs.
It's fun to see the children interacting, figuring out how to build and recognizing that not everything works. I try not to interfere, because many times, I have no idea what they are creating and do not need to know. It’s a surprise.
I have a student in one of my classes that loves to build houses, cars and even elevators. She always works so intently on her projects. When I ask about what she's working, she always explains the whole thing. In the case of one project she could tell me about the buttons to the floors, how many floors, the door, the people, and on and on.
I wouldn't have thought to set her down and tell her to come up with her own elevator system. She revealed it to me. And that makes it so interesting to see where kids go with the clay. And where I go too...
|We still have a few gumdrops left at my house|