Today the children were building on previous skills that they have learned of making coils and pushpots, going into making clay slabs. For the opening of this class, one child had a birthday so a clay birthday cake was presented to him, that he could take home complete with candles. He made a wish, blew out imaginary candles. The teachers proceeded to pass around samples of slab tiles that had been textured differently by using fingers and hands as texturing tools. There were holes put by fingers, furrows, fingernail scratches, coils pushed into the tile, raised bumps.
Each child was given a chunk of clay that they formed into a ball, a board, and a rolling pin. They watched a demonstration of rolling out a slab and then proceeded to roll their own and add their own textures. There was a large slab in the center of the floor and they were invited to add their tiles to form a sculpture. Some children made many contributions to the central sculpture, while others had private collections. The two 20-month old visitors seemed to be especially interested in this form of working with clay. They had a very good time. We had an influx of fathers to this class who also made large contributions. We make it very clear that participation by parents is invited since this age is the age of imitation, and the children enjoy watching their parents work in the same material that the child is working in.
One father shared with the class the family's experience of buying a 25-pound block of clay and his son has become incredibly prolific. He hasn't stopped making clay creations all week. Another mother reported that the 5-year old who attends the class has brought her 9-year old brother into clay projects at home with her. A third mother indicated that from observing her daughter's interaction at the class, she has had new insights into the child's style of learning, which is very independent. The final class of the first session will bring together all the different components of the entire first session of Clay Play (tm).