SGES Preschool and Prekindergarten students have spent November learning about and working with natural, local clay with Ms. Page!
Week One Nov. 1-2: Students were given the chance to take their shoes and socks off, wash their feet in warm water and then explore the clay with their hands AND feet! They stomped, slid, wiggled their toes, made footprints, dug their heels in and squished the clay with wide eyes, screams, and giggles. Some were timid at first- others jumped right in. After much play, experimentation and exploration, they washed their feet again and put on their shoes and socks, still amazed at their earthy and messy experience.
Week Two Nov. 7-8: Students each had a tray with a ball of clay, a sponge and a small bowl of water. Ms. Page demonstrated how to dip their sponge into the water, squeeze all but a few drops of water out, then drip a few drops onto their clay ball and knead the clay to make it softer and more pliable. Students were allowed to take the exercise as far as they wanted, and about half added water until their pile of clay was completely dissolved! Students were very surprised at this result. Other students were reticent about putting their hands on the wet clay, not liking the feeling of it on their hands. However, the longer they worked with it the more enthusiastic they became.
Ms. Page: How would you describe the feeling of the wet clay?
Students: Slimy. Slippery. Wet. Slick. Slidey. Like a frog. Like a slug. Like a wet rock in the water. Ugh-y. Different. Surprising.
Ms. Page also showed them how to make “slip” which acts as glue for clay by adding clay to water until it is a thick liquid. To help them remember the name, Ms. Page had them use their fingers as a little person walking in the slip until they slipped and fell! This caused many laughs and they practiced that over and over.
It was a lot of clean up (involving Ms. Page getting very wet cleaning the trays off with the hose outside!) but so worth the fun and messy experience and what we learned.
Week Three Nov. 14-15: Students moved to learning how to take their natural clay and wedge it to knock the air bubbles out. They then rolled their clay into a ball and stuck their thumb into it to form a hole, then pinched the sides until they formed a pot. When they were satisfied with the shape they were given another small lump of clay and pushed it with the palm of their hand until it formed a lid. They measured the lid on the top of their pot- if it was too small, they took it off and pressed some more. If it was too thin, they rolled it up again and flattened it again.
When students were happy with their creation we set them aside to air dry. Although Ms. Page envisioned them being decorated with beads, wire, yarn and so on, one student suggested it was a fairy house. We did some dreaming and discussions and took our next steps.
Students embellished their pot lids with yarn wrapping and a choice of knobs. They then painted the bottom half of their pot with tempera paint.
The next week we remembered what we had dreamed our pot would be, and students got the chance to create a drawing with crayon and pencil on a piece of paper with a photo of their finished pot showing what their pot had become, and we compared their original vision with how the pot ended up.