Case Study: Term 3
School: Scotch College
Teacher: Samantha Lock
Year Group: Pre-Kindergarten
Creative Practitioner: Charissa Delima
Creative Practice: Visual Art
Main Curriculum Focus: Senses – How we express ourselves through sensory exploration, focusing on function, causation and connection using whole-body senses.
Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners - Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity. Children establish a range of skills and processes such as problem-solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating. Children can transfer and adapt what they have learnt from one context to another and resource their own learning through connecting with people, places, technologies, and natural and processed materials.
Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators - Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others, whilst expressing ideas through a range of different media to make meaning from their learning experience.
Cross-curricular Links: STEM through Bush School - Scotch College follows and incorporates the International Baccalaureate curriculum, which in many ways, is similar to the philosophy underpinning the Five Creative Habits of Mind.
“Never underestimate how capable young children are.” - Creative Practitioner
At Scotch College the Pre-Kindy class explored learning through their senses with their teacher, Samantha Lock and creative practitioner, artist Charissa Delima. Through play, we took the children on a sensory journey where they were given the freedom to engage using their whole-body senses, while asking questions, problem-solving, and engaging in creative and critical thinking. The children discovered minibeasts, built cubbies and developed mark-making skills as they explored the outdoors through their senses. During their outdoor explorations, the children developed their dispositions for learning, such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.
“I like having to play outside at the bush school. We get to make a cubby with Charissa.” - Student
Play provides opportunities for children to learn as they discover, create, improvise and imagine. Some activities involved exploring senses through nature walks around the school’s oval and to the Big Bush School. Embarking on a ‘senses adventure’ on gloomy, cloudy, rainy days and splendid, clear, sunny skies, the children embraced their senses and themselves, experiencing what nature has to offer.
We thoughtfully and purposefully planned each activity based on the children’s interests and learning needs. Currently, the children’s interests revolve around outdoor activities and hands-on-experience. We recognise the importance of facilitating conversations between educators and children, children and children and conversations between educators. These conversations lead to open questioning, speculating, explaining, and engaging in shared thinking and problem-solving to extend the children’s thinking and learning. We plan opportunities for intentional teaching and knowledge-building in a flexible way, which is open and inviting to all.
“It’s reinforcing the things we believe in. It’s really lovely.” - Teacher
“There was an intensity due to organising and finding a balance between the creative sessions and formatting room documentations. However observing how the children interact with Charissa and how they embrace the challenge has been rewarding. I like the way the Creative sets up the activity, which is allowing the children to come to her on their own time and willingness. It’s an open invitation, which the children enthusiastically accepted.” - Teacher
The students were excited and enthusiastic about the creative learning sessions, and student engagement increased in and outside of the classroom. Each session followed a similar format – implementing rules and agreement, as often used with their head teachers and class educators. Creatives invited and encouraged the children to be involved in the activities whilst engaging them in conversations. Activities were planned and designed to maximise the children’s enjoyment of making, creating and the idea of moving freely.
“We do lots of stuff; we play outside, go to bush school, make cubbies, use Charissa’s special colours for drawing, we get to make things with sticks and leaves.” - Student
All sessions were inquisitive, participatory and multi-sensory with various challenges that impacted the children differently. Engaging in discussions and involving children in the preparation for the Bush School walk was significant in boosting their morale. We acknowledged the children’s persistence throughout the 2 km walk to and from Bush School, and we followed their rhythm while providing them with encouragement. We facilitated and catered to the children’s curiosity into ‘something’ and looked into ways of experimentation, which included trial and error and revisiting.
“Their resilience has built up, so we could venture further.” - Teacher
Through their experience, the children increased their social skills and language development, while tolerating and accepting uncertainties in life, by revisiting how the activities went and how the children felt before and after. The children’s collaborative skills emerged amongst the groups during each activity, which led to building friendships. Giving the children an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings whilst being listened to, has enhanced their confidence and sense of self. Shifting a state of mind from ‘structured-play’ to ‘explorative-play’ has accommodated the needs of the children and the teacher while enhancing tolerance towards class structure and timetables.
“They are being imaginative. The children’s language is amazing, especially out here. There are so many options for them to explore.” - Education Assistant
“Knowing and experiencing are two points that go hand-in-hand. However, knowing without experiencing is something hard to digest on. I knew what learning through play meant, yet my personal experience is different with other (teachers), and here lies the difference. Putting myself in vulnerable positions at the start of the session to observe the classroom dynamic, the children, the teacher and educators and the environment while holding one’s opinion is such a humbling thing. There are so many ways to play, so many types of play, yet in the end it’s the children that matter – it’s their journey of experience, the experiences that are important. And my job as creative is to find creative ways to facilitate those experiences, which has no limitations!” - Creative Practitioner