Tag Archives: Robins

Storytelling with Robin’s

This week my Atelierista duties brought me into the class of the Robin’s. This delightful group of children are theatrical and completely engaged with expressing themselves through their bodies. As I got to know them it became apparent that they were all interested in vastly different subjects, like dinosaurs and planes  and dancing. So i decided to write a story with them in hopes that we could tie all of their interests together through this format.

We began in the park one day and two little girls started off the story in the forest “where there are bears and stuff and lots of animals that jump, and some can hop”…  one of those animals was a  bunny that ate carrots and bananas. Soon the boys jumped in and “leopards and cheetahs and jaguars and also dinosaurs and also sea monsters and poisonous squids and sharks and also birds from Ecuador and swimming lizards and seagulls” appeared…  (and that was just the contribution of one little boy). And we found out that jaguars are especially nice and that all the animals were getting together to get toys and play stuff and make shapes. While we talked the boys continued to build a diverse ecosystem of characters, adding bumblebees and kangaroo’s and crocodiles… and they flew around the park like birds and crawled on the ground like gecko’s and walked tall like giraffe’s.

Then another day came and another group of girls began to add to the story… They started with some people having a picnic in the forest where they ate bananas and watermelon and fish crackers and hot dogs! And then came the dance party…  the girls began to act out this scene and they danced and danced until they got tired, taking occasional breaks to rest their bodies for just a minute, until they were ready to dance and dance some more. Then the people from the dance party picnic hopped over to another forest where they found a place to nap, and when they went to sleep, they dreamt about cheesy noodles and mashed potatoes.

Meanwhile one of the other girls that left the dance party picnic, she said, ” I went to eat chocolate noodles at my house but then a monster came to eat it! He looked like a huge monster inc. and he lived in the monster world and then went to the cottage and tried to eat all the food… but i said “Shoo, go away! I’d love to eat you but I already ate a whole castle today- SO GO AWAY!”

And I said, “Wow! You said that to the monster?” and she said “Yes”… and then I told the whole story from beginning to end to another one of our friends (the one that began it with the  bunnies who eat bananas) and she said “You’re talking about the Paper Bag Princess”… And I said… “Hmmm… I thought it sounded familiar.” But still I was impressed with the interpretation and how our little girl took on the the roll of the dragon and stood up to the monster- I’m sure Robert Munsch would be proud too, if he only knew.

Right now we are considering the title for this piece, some names that have been suggested are ‘Pooka‘, ‘You’re Talking About the Paper Bag Princess’, and my favorite… ‘BBbbbbbbbrrrBbbbbbbbbrrr Dudda Dudda Dudda Dudda Dudda!’


Dinosaurs, Boats, Dinosaur boat?

It is hard to limit myself to 3 photos a week! These are from last week when Robins daycare set up painting on recycled materials on a tarp outside.

Something early childhood educators must consider are the healthy quantities of space and time that it takes for kids to absorb, process, and learn. Ideas or interests can circulate under the surface of play for months, with splashing moments of realization, reinterpretation, or production that seem like they come from nowhere. Quiet, free art-making outside provides a wonderful dose of space and time – and a breath of fresh air to boot!

We were excited to see a boat reemerge from these new materials. The Robins daycare kids, for those of you who don’t know, are also currently Major Dinosaur Enthusiasts. In the photo above the two interests are combined!

Gotta love the imaginative strangeness of a dinosaur boat. Why, how, when, and where is the dinosaur sailing?

The middle picture is of a creative display that one of the Robins teachers made to showcase the outdoor painting experiments. This is a clever way to deal with extra pieces of art, reminding children of the “process” rather than worrying about each individual “product”.

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.

Boat-making (with recycled materials)

The children frequently admire the various boats on False Creek as they walk through Charleson Park. This may have contributed to their desire to make boats when presented with a tank full of water and some materials to experiment with.

The idea spread, and three boats were complete within an hour with more children requesting to make them too!

After the boats were made, a circle was gathered where the artists got to share their ideas with the whole group and answer questions. We were impressed by the children’s advanced boat vocabulary (engines, sails, port-holes, etc.) along with imaginative descriptions of parts and how they would be used (slides, holes, flags).

One child took emergency safety into consideration: “When a person can’t come out through the hole they go on the slide”. (The slide is represented with yellow mesh in the last photo above).

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.

Free-form Racetrack project

Children in the Robins Daycare expressed interest in car races. They used yellow vinyl sticker material, black paper, and pencil crayons to make a track for the cars.

Learning along the way: Team-work, fine motor skills, project planning, communication skills, new uses of tape and paper.

“Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!”

Any questions or ideas for the young artists? Write them in the comments.