Category Archives: Environment

Teaching?

It has been a curiously intense week in terms of confronting learning environments for children. Let me clarify:

  • I have been giving a presentation on the history of printmaking in Europe to a group of 180 9-year olds at the French school; followed by visits in individual classes to lead printmaking workshops (I even lug my 1-ton etching press to school!).
  • I have visited The Blue House Nursery, a beautiful Reggio-inspired pre-school at the edge of the Bukit Timah forest reserve;
  • I have given a drawing lesson to a couple of 4-year olds, a group of 5-8 year olds and let a threesome of tweens loose in my painting studio (instead of the usual drawing class);
  • I have sat on in a meeting of young French mothers entrepreneurs… discussing business but with young children at the back of their mind.
  • I have been reflecting on what my “teaching philosophy” would be for a teaching job in Middle School and then for University-level;
  • I have come up with new art-and-science workshops for walk-in crowds for Playeum;
  • I have been solidifying my ideas for L’Observatoire, an art-and-science education workshop (more on that soon);
  • I have attended a student-led “Unplugged” concert at UWCSEA.
… and checking that my own 3 kids had done their homework.
And from all this, I come comforted in a few things:
  • “Emerging Curriculum” really exist (at The Blue House Nursery). I have always resisted following a strict curriculum for my classes (which makes it difficult to hire other teachers to do the work…), preferring to have a general idea of what the students should have been exposed to at the end of the session or series of sessions, and then letting the group of students lead the path. Now I now that this has a name and it’s not “unprepared lessons” but rather “over prepare and go with the flow”….
  • Telling kids answers to questions they have not yet asked is robbing them of the essential pleasure or finding questions. Presenting facts as the result of our own investigation  might be a better teaching approach. I have still not watched Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk entitled “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” despite being directed to it many times. I suspect the content might in essence be the same … I invite you to listen and give me your thoughts!

It’s no walk in the park…

… drawing in the jungle is actually hard work.

As today’s Drawing Class and Jungle Workshop got excited about stepping into the backyard, I thought how great it was to have an opportunity to take the kids out when the weather’s not too hot (morning class!), and not to have to walk too far before we could see some quiet nature (and that’s an understatement).

The plan was to study some real leaves, and the general shape of some trees, how things look like from “within” before doing our own drawing, back at the studio.

And of course, it happened. After some running around, watching the monkeys, the ants, and other bugs, kids settled and each drew a few leaves on their own. Then, as concentration grew, children started noticing things. Really small insects, and strange leaves. And then, experimentations! “Would this leaf float? Would it still float if we put stuff on it? Does it slow down? Oh, look at this leaf – it’s got beads of water on it. Wait, the water bounces on it! Let me see, let me see…”

Drawing leads to Experimenting. CQFD. Oh, and nature helps too!

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2 and 1/2 D Cinema

Documenting "2 and 1/2 D Cinema" (Click on the image to see the whole picture)

This June, I invite you to come and visit the National Museum of Singapore with the children. As usual, their Children Season is very well orchestrated, with workshops, shows and interactive art exhibitions. (click for details and tickets)

My own work this year is an interactive installation, presented in the Black Box (3rd Floor), PlayDome. Daily except Mondays, from 10am to 6pm. Make sure to let me know if you’re coming – I’ll try to be there. If not, the facilitators are fantastic in guiding the children through the show:

“2 and 1/2 D Cinema is an interactive cinema experience like no other. 5 short films edited from the Ivan Polunin archives are presented, with new sountrack. Children are invited to step into the beam, onto the stage, and interact with the footage representing everyday life in Singapore in the 50s-60s. All the while, they are being filmed, and can see themselves on the TV screen placed outside the cinema, which transmit the new footage with a 30-second delay.”

Hence, no holiday workshops until 27th of June… But a week of Watercolors and a week of Printmaking for the lucky children who are on holiday then!

Stick Puppets at the Museum: a success

A seed collection

A seed collection

  1. Pick Up Sticks (and pods, and seeds and other stuff from the floor)
  2. Sorting Seeds

    Sort

  3. Display

    Display

Then, let the participants choose 5 of these yummy unusual objects and challenge them to make a creature. The results were amazing! See some pictures below and in my Gallery.

A Mouse

A Mouse

A Goldfish

A Goldfish

An Owl?

An Owl?

A Millipede

A Millipede

If you’d like to try, either go and pick your own from the sidewalk, parks, gardens, or come and visit me at the museum again the 6th and 7th of June (2-5pm).

If you’d like to help (and have fun in the process), please pick a small bag of “tree stuff” as in the picture above and I’ll gladly come and pick it up anywhere in Singapore. Or you can bring it to me and I’ll treat you to a cup of tea/coffee/Milo and a quick workshop on how to make a mouse, an owl… or a strange creature from this wonderful material that grows on trees! Please leave me a message below…

Children’s Season @ NMS

NMS Workshops

NMS Workshops

This year, the National Museum of Singapore‘s Children’s Season runs from May 23 to June 7. There are many different workshops to choose from, performances to attend and other events for the whole family.

Please come and check out my cool recycling and environment-related FREE workshops, running over the 2 week-ends:

Drop-in Activities

Platform & Glass Atrium, Level 2 – National Museum of Singapore.

Sat 23 May & Sun 24 May

10am – 1pm : Leaf Rubbing (Get familiar with some of the leaves found in our gardens while creating a large and colorful drawing)
2pm – 5pm : Stick Puppets (Pick leaves, sticks, fruits and seeds from the large Nature Basket and assemble them to create one-of-a kind creatures)

Sat 6 Jun & Sun 7 Jun

10am – 1pm : Play, Clay and Display* (The classic plasticine and recycled material workshop where bottles can become monsters, robots or other strange Clay Critters)
2pm – 5pm : Stick Puppets (Pick leaves, sticks, fruits and seeds from the large Nature Basket and assemble them to create one-of-a kind creatures)

* Bring your own 500 ml mineral water bottle and a shoe box and learn how you can recycle and transform these objects into works of art.