We have been "Off The Grid" as much as desired for several months here at Woolsey Academy. This has been quite an experiment for us and one I am so glad we ventured to endure.
What began as an attempt to keep my little ones interested in writing has become far more than I had imagined. My main goal, as I mentioned, was simply to keep their letter and number practice fresh and exciting.
My own little babe simply is not interested in paper. She has her moments, but for the most part, it frustrates her. At first glance she seemed to simply not want to try. She would fidget and fit, throw the paper and crayons. I tried markers, colored pencils, twistable crayons and chalk, thinking that maybe she was frustrated trying to hold a crayon. Nope, that didn't make any difference. I tried different types of papers, coloring books, construction paper, lines, no lines, printed with with things that interested her like bugs and butterflies and no printing at all....nope...still nothing!
After careful observation I determined that she has inherited her my "fear of messing up" gene. I too have a tendency to avoid that which I am afraid I will fail at. It is a harsh realization, but true. I am not one to "jump off the deep end" without knowing exactly how deep the water is, my clear path for exit, and having a good eye on the "life-guard." I am not a natural born risk-taker either, probably for the same reasons (not a good combo for taking on the unknown!)
When it comes to paper she has a definite idea of what she wants the end product to look like and at the first moment she determines that she has "messed up" the papers, crayons, arms and legs would go flying!
So, in an attempt to relieve her of the anxiety and help her understand that there is no such thing as "messing up beyond repair" and possibility of failure, I thought of a plan..."OFF THE GRID!"
This has completely freed her to create, think, and simply just BE in the moment of learning without any pre-conceived notion (on her part) of what her paper should look like.
I have had other children similar to her in the past, but, like snowflakes...no two are alike. In the above video is just one example of the learning we are now doing "Off The Grid." I call it such since it is a-typical for the traditional class environment. This does produce less "take-homes," but thankfully with social media I am able to share the children's creations with their families via images. This...too...is a great advantage as their pictures are captured in a photo that can be looked at anytime from Mom or Dad's phone, as well as, shared with family anytime/anywhere.
One thing I didn't foresee is what a GREAT crossing the midline activity having such a large space to create on would provide. We have practiced making large and small letters, numbers, lines, shapes, pattern, etc. It is like witnessing a little miracle when one of my little ones that used to move his or her entire body to reach the other side of their art space suddenly reaches across. I seriously get giddy!! Oh yes...what is "crossing the midline?"
Crossing the midline is a developmental milestone that we recognize with crawling. Imagine a big line that divides our bodies down the middle into right and left halves. Any activity that involves the right side "crossing over" into the left sides half is "crossing the midline." This seems so natural for many that it is undetectable to the untrained eye...but to those of us watching for it, it is a celebration! It basically involves activities that require that the dominate hand, or side of the body, cross over to do "work" on the other side...i.e: painting a large letter "X" on our great big window that starts with a child drawing a diagonal line from his left shoulder (using his right hand) all the way down to his right foot (still using his left hand) and remaining firm footed the entire time would be "crossing the midline
Read more about crossing the midline here... Crossing The Midline
ANYTHING can be accomplished with these great, big "canvases!" Another advantage is simply utilizing what you have for pre-k activities. It doesn't take expensive art easels to allow children the space to create. Windows, walls, floors...these are all readily accessible and with the right tools (washable crayons and paints) the clean up is a breeze!
What I do LOVE about this activity is that they are always excited to do it. It also gives each child much more room for freedom of expression AND space between children that are not quite mature enough to stay within their own "creation station."
Take a look!!
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com