Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the return of the fairy garden

Much to my children's horror, I'm not adverse to stopping the car to pick things up off the side of the road that might be useful at preschool. 

On this particular morning I spotted this gnarly looking branch lying on a nature strip and I knew I had to have it.


I propped it up in a basket, and set it out some string, streamers, ribbons, wire, wool and beads and waited to see where they would go with it. 

First came the creating:
 

They tied, wrapped, draped and wound and found their own materials to decorate the branch.  


Beads were threaded onto wire to make tree decorations.

Then came the imagining:

All it took was one little person to remark:  "This looks like a fairy tree."  And then they were off.

The fairy garden, neglected for months, was instantly resurrected with the branch taking pride of place:


It was fascinating to see how one spark could ignitate their long lost enthusiasm and how they all "got it" as a group.  Shared experiences and shared remembrances are a powerful thing.  


They stood at the door of the storeroom with baskets to be filled with fairy garden accoutrements, telling me what they needed to get the job done.  I couldn't fill the baskets fast enough.



Thank you little tree branch.  You gave us a a morning of fun, creating, imagining and working together.  

Not bad for something lying on the side of the road!

13 comments:

  1. I went to a conference once with Lela Gandini and other educators from Reggio Emilia, and as I walked to the conference from the hotel one morning, I saw the women in front of me stoop to pick up fallen branches as they walked. I knew they must be teachers! Sure enough, it was Lela and the other presenters. Love your fairy tree.

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  2. Now THAT'S what we're talking about ... Irresistible play based learning!
    Donna :) :)

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  3. Inspiring post! My 5 1/2 year old and two of his friends built fairy houses while we were on vacation recently. Together, each day they dreamed up new additions for their houses -- food for the fairies and so forth. Their excitement was intoxicating.

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  4. Yes, a branch like that would make me stop too. Actually I have a branch around the house that I just can't bring myself to get rid of. It has bits in all the right places for hanging things, so I've put it in my study!! It's been used for all manner of creations.

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  5. Debi: I love watching how involved they get in building little houses and little worlds. So creative and imaginative.

    Cath - I think I caught the habit from my boys (or maybe visa versa) - our back verandah is lined with sticks and branches they have bought back from bushwalks and they just can't part with!

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  6. What a fabulous branch! And I love the way they extended the play and just used it as a starting point.

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  7. oh, i love this. i agree with sherry and donna: irresistable.

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  8. What a perfect way to spend a morning. Leave it to children to make something so special from your roadside pick up.

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  9. Love the idea.

    It is so wonderful..if we as adults just provide the items, the children will do the rest.
    They already *know* how :)

    happy day!

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  10. Wonderful! Between your branch and Teacher Tom's cookie tree...I'm feeling left out. I guess I need to get some tree decorating going!

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  11. What a super find! Definitely worth stopping the car for! The children obviously had so much fun :)

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  12. That's one cool branch! When I first started teaching, my parent educator told me, "Preschool teachers are just middle class bag ladies. Get used to it."

    Our fairy garden play ebbs and flows like this. Parents sometimes say it looks like a garbage dump, but wouldn't that be just about the best playground? =)

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  13. That's one cool branch! When I first started teaching, my parent educator told me, "Preschool teachers are just middle class bag ladies. Get used to it."

    Our fairy garden play ebbs and flows like this. Parents sometimes say it looks like a garbage dump, but wouldn't that be just about the best playground? =)

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