Sunday, May 5, 2013

MAKING HOMEMADE DOLLS! A Study in Critical Thinking and Creativity


photo of: Creative Figure Study: Doll Making in Head Start Classroom via PreK+K Sharing

Perhaps a better question would be what are they NOT capable of?  Great to have you back visiting my article, which is part of our collaboration here at PreK+K Sharing.  It's always a pleasure to share what I've learned from children and my fellow teachers with all of you from around the world.  Enjoy!

Today's blog will be told primarily with image which span over a number of weeks and months.  Enjoy this journey as told by the experiences of the preschool children at Sunnyside Head Start in Tucson, Arizona.  Prior to this "Doll Study", these children explored paper and how it could be used.  I'm going to write about that next month, but thought it would be great to see the Doll study first and then later see where it came from.

In case you've having trouble reading the critical information below, here is it is in a larger font:

Last year in the De Colores classroom, we started a paper study.  This year we continued with the exploration of paper and it's transformational properties. The idea of the DOLL STUDY began as a result of children exploring paper mache.

The children started by forming small balls from the pulp and they showed an interest in making dolls with it, but it was difficult for the children to make the pulp stand.

The following day as a provocation, we added wire to the pulp.  The children began cutting pieces of wire and twisting it in the form of a cross.  They started forming balls with the pulp and adding it to the wire. 

 The dolls identities soon began to emerge.  

They continued with the process of painting... 

 adding facial features... 

adding hair... 

and then clothing!  

This study of mixing different materials/media offered a challenge with many transformational possibilities.  

It offered the potential of building skills that are more complex, such as problem solving, math, social-emotional growth, creativity and sensory experiences. 

The Doll above is accompanied by the following description: "My doll's name is Luis.  He is four years old like me.  He likes to go to the park.  He likes to go to the circus."  It has the little boy's name who is also named Luis.  Doll's, much like puppets, create a safe place for children (and adults!) to express themselves in many ways.

This doll's description says, "My doll's name is Samantha, like my cousin.  I made it paper mache, used paint.  I used purple fabric and I used pink paper for the blouse.  She does magic when she uses her wand."  The young artist is Maria.

Each doll tells a story!

Each doll empowers others to tell their story!

What kind of higher order thinking skills did this take?  I'm not going to tell you.  Instead, I'm going to invite you to use your own higher order thinking skills and think about it.  I'd LOVE for you to post your thoughts!

The doll above reminds me of my gorgeous wife, Marie, who is of Cuban decent and has worn some outfits like this one when we go dancing Salsa!

What kind of cultural sensitivity can be elevated by creating dolls?  What do we find out about our children and their families?

This doll has the following description: "Her name is Danessa.  She likes to play with her friends.  She knows when it's bedtime when mom says it is time for bed.  I made it with paper mache.  She has brown hair like me."  The young artist's name is Danessa.

From understanding the primary colors to the critical thinking it takes to assemble a doll, what a rich tapestry of learning this was for these children!

So.... when are you going to start your own Doll Study?  I hope soon and I hope you share the journey with all of us.


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