Thinking beyond the "Macaroni necklace".... considering social responsibilities in a pre-school pedagogy......
I actually still have one of these..."art pieces" from when I attended pre-school.... that''s definitely dating me... but for what's it's worth... I think it's still edible (if boiled -of course). It still looks exactly the same as the day I made it (I presume) since I don't actually remember making it, but it is still in tact with my name hand written (by the teacher) on a piece of masking tape wrapped snugly around the part where a knot was tied in red wool.
I used to make these necklaces with my students all the time...... they loved to string the hard pasta with coloured yarn and give them as gifts to their mom's and dad's at the end of the day.... we even strung our Christmas trees with them!
I used to BUY the pasta, at Thrifty's when it went on sale... two giant packs for three bucks! SOLD! Instant art session... right?
About 5 years back, I started to struggle with ethics in my practise.....
Wasting things became a big issue with me........ Pasta, rice, lentils, water... all commonly used (without much thought) in a pre-school environment for art, in sensory bins, water tables etc.... and then tossed without much thought!
Using FOOD as ART materials really started to bother me... and for good reason. Children are starving in our world! Not only in Africa, or South East Asia, but here! In Victoria, in our own province in our own back yard! How could I justify spending three dollars on dried pasta for art, when this is actual food that could feed a hungry family!
I began to question my pedagogy.... how could I possibly make a difference?
Slowly, I realized that it wasn't so hard to make a difference within my own setting! I simply need not buy rice for the sensory bins, or fill the water table with water. I started using materials found abundant in nature.... organic materials like sticks and dried moss, and dirt. What I realized is that children didn't care what was in these special bins for them to "play" with, they didn't care what it was! They responded to MY reactions... "Hey friends... look what"s growing in the sensory bin!", "Pine cones!"
Choosing not to fill our "water-table" with water has become common-practise in our nature daycare.... we have wooden blocks, felted gnomes,legos, buttons and so many other tactile things to use.... why use water when it's not absolutely necessary?
I guess, I'm trying to subliminally "educate" our children to make less waste , and preserve our water storage..... I'm not sure if they truly understand this yet... but perhaps down the road they may come across my blog and put 2 and 2 together.... until then.... sorry families, pine cone bird feeders, beeswax blocks and popsicle stick frames will be coming home this month...
I don't think parents really miss these child built necklaces.... buttons have the same effect I feel.... don't get me wrong....
I still have a hard time passing by the 2 for 3 bucks sales on pasta... now I just buy it, and save it for our Christmas food hamper.....
pasta necklaces taste better with a full tummy,
not an empty one.
Thanks for reading.
Using water beads as a tactile experience.... Ethical?... who benefits from this?
Using re-purposed yarn for musical interpretation.... what else could we do with this material?..... should all materials with multi-purposes be donated to those less fortunate?........... How do we teach our children ethically about waste, re-using , recycling, re-purposing?.....