This week has turned out to be pretty much about masks, which is great, and the kids have made some really beautiful things. But before we get into the masks, I'll tell you a little preschool story.
I was walking out to the waterfall on Tuesday before heading for the school, and I saw a group of really happy kids off the side of the road. They looked so happy that I had to go talk with them. It's kinda hard to see them in this photo - but it does show the land nicely...if you click on it you can see it better.
Annie and Elsie had brought their 4 and 5 year olds out to pick last years red berries, freeze-dried by the winter. Everyone was smiling and scampering around picking exquisitely tart berries (I tasted them - kinda like cranberries) and having a good time in the sunshine. Talked with them for a while, and I may go on over and do some puppet stuff with them too - it was really great to be around younger kids, and made me realize how my life has really focused in on preschool, and how comfortable I am with that age-group in particular now. It felt AWESOME!
But then, so did the rest of the week, pretty much...
We continued working on our paper plate masks, elaborating them and coming up with rudimentary characters...such as Qulliq's cat...
We played some fun games this week too. The group is still all girls, although we had one boy come and play some games with us, but he couldn't convince his friend to come in so he ended up leaving, even though he was really having a great time - I could tell by his huge smile. Things are pretty gendered here, which is cultural...and when I think about it, I'm glad to be providing something different for the girls to get up to. I have a feeling it's a bit weird for them to have a male educator showing them this stuff - and I think that's pretty great. World wide there is such a challenge to ensure girls are even allowed ACCESS to education - so I feel pretty good to have about 28 of them coming to the workshop.
The first two photos are of a mirroring game, where kids in pairs follow each other, build body awareness and create physical vocabularies. The last photo is of a new game to me - the kids call it Snakes and Ladders, and it's a relay race we played in the gym today. The kids sit with their feet touching in a long ladder-like line, and one by one pairs race each other to one wall, around the ladder, and then as fast as they can up the ladder to the next pair and sit down. The first side to complete it wins. WOW! Lots of enthusiastic screaming to this one.
That big face in the background of the first picture has some potential - we'll see what it becomes. I made it this afternoon to show the kids what else we could do. And look at all those bins!! Those are our once lost, now found treasure boxes - thank goodness we found them, their contents have already made the workshop a million times better.
This is how the papier-mache masks progress - we build them on plaster casts of faces from previous years - alternating paper to make them strong and also so we know which parts we've done. Then we build up different features on the mask and do a final layer on top of that to seal them all in. Tomorrow hopefully everything will be dry, and we can cut eye-holes and paint them! Zowee!
I'm feeling more at home here...and becoming more friendly with both teachers and folks around town - walking everywhere and smiling at my good fortune to be up here experiencing all this really helps.
Ok - supper time - more soon!