Studio and Kindy Research 2019
North Perth, Subiaco, Nedlands, West Leederville and North Fremantle SOEL Kindy children and educators researched how the children and the city acknowledge each other. Using the city as a provocation, the children used their existing investigations in their kindy and studio programmes to draw meaning and understandings of the place they live in. Each centre’s unique inquiries influenced the learning of children in different centres.
Active citizenship (finding solutions for problems in our community), symbols as a form of communication, being visible through sound, and children’s ways of knowing in relation to nature were some of the focuses from the centres. These intentions helped the children take notice and acknowledge the multiplicity of life that we live amongst as well as to appreciate that everything (tangible or not) can coexist and has the right to a voice and place.
“The city is a circle. We are all together and we are all the same.”
West Leederville Kindy
West Leederville Kindy children in Matisse, have been inspired by different aspects of indigenous art and language as they begin to develop an understanding of the rich cultural heritage of our land. Neil Coyne, a Whadjuk Noongar radio presenter and wrestling icon, shared a little bit more about their culture with the children. Neil and his family had a profound effect on the children making a real-life connection with our nation’s first peoples.
Real-life connections to spaces and people have transformed the children’s thinking and given them a foundation to build from. The children have recreated, learnt and imagined elements of some of their favourite city environments to create a dynamic and diverse landscape that represents their collective world view
“Look there is birds, the reeds are his home. I wish there was still lots of reeds so more birds could have a home.”
Subiaco Kindy, Kanimbla, brought the intention of uniqueness through their print inquiry with dragonflies. Sharing of skills such as weaving brought children together and also offered a way of representing nature.
The wetland area at Northbridge’s cultural centre became a great provocation to further our indigenous research, our city research, as well as a place to continue using dragonflies as a metaphor.
The children also drew inspiration from Mangkaja artists, working with Perspex as we layered swamp designs and worked with formation, capturing the stories and innocent thoughts that the children portray to us through language and design.
“Every place has a soul, an identity, trying to discover that soul and relate to it means also learning to recognise our own soul” – James Hillman.
North Perth Kindy
For North Perth Kindy, Wolgol, this appreciation was observed as the children experienced a gravitational pull towards the Wetlands. The ‘sound’ of the Motorbike Frog (seemingly forever hidden from plain sight) became pertinent to the ‘place’, the children were now listening as well as making themselves heard.
The sounds became a great catalyst for engaging other children into the explorations upon our return. Making sense of their findings, the children began to visually represent the Wetlands and the ‘voices’ contained within it. This was, and continues to be explored over and over, as they continually add depth to their understandings.
The children continue to evolve their interconnectedness as they work on their vision of a ‘Playground for Frogs and People’ …
“A place where we can all play together, even if we can’t see the frogs, we know they are there.”
For now, to be heard is enough.
The Nedlands Kindy, Numbats, made connections with other children but were mostly drawn to the trees and nature of their city.
Singing, painting with water, exploring the spaces under big trees, the wetlands and its inhabitants sparked environment building and connections in the Numbats room and the Studio.
The children brought to the research their web connection idea built around the concepts of a meeting place. Having focused on signs and symbols to understand the way their city communicates (transport and safety signs), they keenly displayed their own signs around their garden and made a stop tree sign. The circle shape as a sign of togetherness, continued to play a role in sitting in small and large groups always connecting with each other, in the city, in the rooms and outdoor areas.
“It’s a circle so we’re all together and we’re the same” – Teddy
North Fremantle Kindy
The North Fremantle Kindy, Clontarf engaged with the city in a way that further anchored their passion for creating systems for “fixing” issues and researching how individual actions affect a community. Already knowing their powerful role in the community, the children sought to understand the actions of those who looked after a space and those who did not. They showed concern about the graffiti and litter and delight for community gardens and places where they saw people coming together to share.
The children began to design shared spaces like parks and gardens in plasticine, showing their deep consideration for the needs of others, especially the birds. They began making connections to their own experience and told stories of the lives of the birds, inspired by their work with the Dreamtime story “How the Birds got their Colours”. Captivated by the concept of giving to the birds, the children then travelled with clay bowls for drinking water, wire coils with wool for nesting and statues for the birds as symbols of home. The children see their role in the community as strong, heard and capable of important, active change.