Tag Archives: 3-Dimensional

Drawing the Road-diggers and Green Mat Neighbourhood

The first half of this post was meant to be for last week, but somehow the time got away on us! Busy days at the Centre…

Drawing the Road-diggers: One day at the end of May, small groups of children from each Daycare were allowed to take a Teacher or two to go look at the road construction out front.

Some children were engaged in watching and discussing the road-digging without feeling the need to draw, but others took up pencil crayons and made sketches of the process on bright pink paper.

R___ paid attention to the dirt flying from shovel to dump truck bed – notice all her squiggly lines!

A___ was captivated by the flashing, spinning yellow light on the top of the truck. Notice the yellow section on the left side of the drawing.

Drawing is one of the (hundreds) of languages of children that, we believe, surpasses that of most adults in expressiveness. Artists and children have a lot in common – most-of-all, the ability to represent and interpret an experience or idea in a fluid, uninhibited way. Those with a narrow perception of “What is Art” can learn a lot from 3-5-year-olds.

On this topic:

As your blogger and communications person at CPCC, I wonder sometimes about which projects to include in the Atelier blog. My rule seems to be that projects should be “art-based”, and that the children must have played a major or full role in the creation of something tangible. But this is tricky when I believe “art” can be defined in so many ways:

Art is play with materials.

Art can be temporary (mandalas, sand-castles and etch-a-sketches)

Art can be made of anything (Marcel Duchamp for Early Childhood Educators).

So I may (or may not) be bending my rules here by including the Green Mat Neighbourhood, but so what?

There is art, also, in superb teaching…

The story of the neighbourhood: One child, in an emotional moment, expressed the need for some private personal space. A teacher took this opportunity to create a structure out of our sleeping mats in the gross-motor/nap room for the child to have the option of being alone for a while. Soon enough, the resident was feeling better and opened up the door and invited other children inside to share the space. More “houses” sprang up, and soon the kids were excitedly declaring “We’re Neighbours!” and “We live together!”

This activity was repeated on a following day, and the children’s actual addresses were posted on the outsides as a way to practice learning them. There also emerged a game of Rescue where some children became fire-fighters that saved a Neighbour from a fire.

Learning along the way: Concepts of Private and Public space, sharing, fire safety, helping out neighbours, home addresses, social interactions, creative use of materials!

I’m wondering about ways to offer to bring these themes into hands-on construction… Perhaps a repeat of the 3D glue-gun cardboard city that the preschoolers work on.


Preschool Triple-Post: Plants, City-Planning, AirPlane

Hummingbirds are speedy creatures. They hover near a flower, sip nectar, move on quick to the next…. It’s hard to keep up with the Preschoolers and Teachers in our Hummingbirds Preschool, hence this triple-sized post!

Row by row:

1. The children’s Mother’s Day gift was a potted flower along with a book documenting the flower’s growth through the child’s own drawings, week by week. A major learning experience and a heartfelt gift!

The third photo is of the finished scribble map – This was a few days of free drawing. Click on it to take a closer look – you can feel the movement of the children through the overlapping lines, and see evidence of their visual processing of rivers, coast-line, roads, and even the text boxes.

The learning process can be mysterious. We love, though, when something spins out into a new way of looking at an old project, which takes us to the next row:

2. Mixed-media map-making on cellophane. This is a new stage, combining the levels of learning so far:

– First, years of exposure to real roads, cars, city-scapes, etc.

– Second, play with toy cars

– Third, marker drawings of roads and train tracks on paper for toy cars to drive on, plus collage on top

– Fourth, 3-D construction of a city-scape out of card and paper, including tape roads

– Fifth, interaction with a real map on cellophane with markers

– And now, combining all the above elements: markers, tape roads, 3D construction, cellophane, PLUS a new thing: Road signs! One of our brilliant teachers found a source of realistic, small cardboard traffic signs that were included here. Amazing.

3. One child brought an interest in airplanes to the classroom a long time ago. During the sculpting process with salt dough, he developed a couple different techniques to make an airplane, exploring many of the different parts. Other children were tickled by the idea and we saw other airplanes emerge from the dough – some only briefly.

This week, a cardboard box was brought in because a different child wanted to make a house out of it. But the “stickiness” of the airplane idea was evident – the box got wings, windows, and a tail added, along with a great number of cryptic, creative other bits and pieces.

To provoke deeper exploration of the plane, the children were asked if they wanted some photos printed from the internet. The pics above show them using the photos cooperatively to plan out the airplane parts.

“We forgot the propeller!” one child said. The engines were added underneath the wing following discussion of the different places that an engine could go: behind the nose of certain planes, or under the wing of others.

That’s all for today. Next week might be another double or triple post…

We are starting to see a synergy of idea-sharing happening in our centre, as the children’s and teachers’ interests and competencies blossom. Considering we just opened 6 months ago – Triple cheer for CPCC!

Water Wall

In Finches daycare, an idea seeded and grew right into and over our week! Instead of continuing with the car project for now, teachers got excited about making a Water Wall with the children.

A Water Wall is a structure designed to direct water in various streams, drips, and flows when poured over-top. The children talked about waterfalls, containers, and funnels before embarking on this project. Each child was able to choose a container and pick the spot on the “Wall” (a donated scrap piece of linoleum) to attach it. Then they discussed what holes should be drilled or cut into the container to allow water to pass through it, and where the water would go next. (Lots of big hand motions, “Wooooooshhhh” noises, and excited grins.)

Children stood behind a fence at a safe distance to watch a teacher use a power drill to follow the children’s instructions about drilling holes and attaching the containers. Then, children from the Robins daycare were invited to help paint the wall according to a few instruction from the Finches children. A few different kids worked together on it with great cooperation.

We hope for a sunny day next week for our inaugural Water Wall exploration with a big tub of water, buckets, cups, raincoats, and rubber boots!

Documentation process: Map-making, aquarium continued

Here are two examples of documentation panels being used to provoke thought about on-going projects.

The first project is a continuation of the map-making in the preschool. We took it into 3 dimensions using glue, tape, card, etc. Here are some of the children’s words spoken during the construction process:

(Using small toys to walk around the model) “Now she’s going to Granville Island with her puppy dog.”

“I’m going to cut so the goose can go on some stairs.”

(Putting on a roof) “When for people get their hair blown (by the wind)”

“I’m putting this so the wind could go nicely from the tape.”

“This is a water pipe.”

“I’m going to add houses.”

The documentation display has a chart for teachers and parents to add any questions that the children ask about cities. We hope to encourage wonder about how they are built, what parts they have, and what infrastructure is required.


The aquarium project was continued in the Robins room – asking the children what could be put into the aquarium (other than the boats that we made). Many ideas were drawn and discussed before being displayed on a large photo of the aquarium: octopuses, starfish, whales, rocks, fish, water snake, etc.

We will look into getting one of these animals for real! Probably not a whale, though.

Wire experiments

What to do with left-over wire? In Robins Daycare, we tried bending it into interesting shapes and using cardboard boxes as stands for the sculptures. Throw in some extra wire leaf decorations donated from a florist, and you get an unconventional, engaging activity.

Learning along the way: Fine motor skills, vocabulary for shapes and lines, new uses of materials, 3-dimensional spatial awareness, etc.