Jack attends a Reggio-inspired playgroup and will soon be starting at a local independent Reggio-inspired preschool. One of the first things I noticed when we started at the playgroup was the wealth of art materials available to the children; watercolours, oil pastel crayons, acrylic paints, tempura paints, big brushes, little brushes, calligraphy brushes, flat brushes, paper of all shapes and sizes, transparent paper, cardboard, every collage material you could imagine…and clay. There is always clay. Clay is often used with other materials like wire, mosaic tiles, natural materials and mirrored tiles.
Before we started at the Reggio-inspired playgroup, Jack hadn’t used clay before. We had playdough, but never clay. He really enjoys working with it. When I first introduced clay, Jack wasn’t quite sure how to use it. It didn’t move the same way playdough did. It took about a week of making cupcakes and sausages before he started to pinch pieces off and manipulate it to create different sculptures.
Jack is still learning how to interact with the clay; mostly using a second material to sculpt the clay in some way. I haven’t introduced building with clay yet or sculpting by removing clay from a larger piece. These skills will come in time. At the moment he is enjoying making his sculptures.
Recently I noticed that Jack was enjoying playing with Sarah’s bead roller coaster. This morning I asked him whether he would like to make his own roller coaster using clay. YES! So with a simple set up; clay, wooden beads and some beading wire, Jack set about making his roller coaster.
Jack’s use of the clay is becoming more refined and purposeful. These little clay sculptures are some of the first Jack made. Using natural materials he mostly pushed clay onto the pinecone or the bark. Since then he has started to pinch off pieces and shape them before placing them together using wire, matchsticks or some other material.