– written by Ms. Ashwini Maslekar, TFI fellow 2015-17 and an intern at Mantra4Change
The Art-Mela was organised by the students of 2nd year M.A. in Education (Early Childhood stream) of the Azim Premji University. Though of a short duration (half a day from 9.30-2.00), the event was packed with several take-aways with respect to the potential of art in the curriculum and pedagogical practices in pre-schools. The aim of the Mela was to ‘open up the opportunities and possibilities of art and its implementation in the curriculum to reveal the integration of both, to make the classroom teaching learning practices interesting for the pre-schoolers’.
Even before a formal gathering of all the participants was arranged, the foyer was thrown open with an array of ‘Colour Blast’ activities. These activities made the participants get hands on learning experience of various art activities while also enabling them to thoroughly enjoy themselves. All the activities part of this are listed below.
WALL PAINTING: for the purpose of the event large chart papers were put up on the walls of the foyer. With no set design in mind the participants could make use of materials such as sponge, leaves (of different types) and even their hands to paint (imprint) on the ‘wall’. A simple fun way to express ones thoughts with no right or wrong painting, this activity would be a great way to decorate the classrooms.
SPRAY PAINTING: the tool used here was an old toothbrush which resulted in beautiful paintings of leaves, flowers, paper cut outs or any object which will leave behind a pattern. An artistic touch to reusing old objects and also learning about shapes and patterns
STRAW PAINTING: requiring one to huff and puff through a straw on the paper, this method created interesting patterns on the paper. It is a joy to find known shapes emerge from a random flow of the paints. The size of the straws can vary with the age of the kids.
BUBBLE-WRAP ROLLING: wrap a bubble wrap on a rolling pin, paint colour on it and just roll away.
GLASS RINGS: this activity involved the use of paper glasses with paint on their rim. As kids make circles with the glasses, they can learn a variety of mathematical concepts from counting to Venn diagrams.
VEGETABLE IMPRINTS: Onions, Capsicum, French Beans, Lady Fingers, Potatoes or any other vegetable that will leave a distinguishable imprint. This activity which is quiet popular in schools gives the students and idea of shapes, patterns and about the vegetables themselves.
FROZEN PAINTS: a painting method which surprised and intrigued everyone, this involved freezing paints mixed with water with an ice-cream stick to create paint popsicles! As the paint starts melting roll these popsicles on a rough surface to create any pattern one desires.
THREAD PAINTING: dip threads of various sizes into paints and drag them or simply place them on the paper to create design.
TIE AND DYE: this stall had two methods of dying cloth. One was the well-known way which used grains tied in the cloth with a thread while the other one required a wet cloth to be put into a half cut bottle with holes on the sides. All one has to do is put paint through the holes to stain the cloth. The result is a colourful melange. It is nothing short of Holi in a bottle!
RANGOLI: Rangoli is a great way to understand lines and patterns. One can have symmetrical patterns by connecting dots or make asymmetrical designs of variety of colours and details. For those who are less deft than others with their fingers the organizers had a quick fix. Just spread the rangoli colours onto your design and make any desired pattern with your index finger (or any finger you are most comfortable with).
CLAY MODELLING: the surest way to get ones hands dirty and still learn a whole deal. Clay modelling is quite useful for developing motor skills in children. Apart from that it can also be used to understand 3-D shapes by actually making the miniature models.
ORIGAMI: the Japanese paper folding art has been with us throughout our childhood and has varying levels of difficulty. With basic folding, the children can make their own playthings and also learn lines and shapes.