Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Happy Summer to all!
For those who don't know me, I'm Enrique Feldman, the Founder and Director of Education for the non profit education organization, the F.A.M.E. Foundation.  The Fostering Arts-Mind Education Foundation partners with many programs across the country, including Child-Parent Centers Heads Start in Tucson, Arizona.  For 13 consecutive years, we have been a very important part of their educational vision and it has been an incredible journey.  Today's blog is written by my colleague and  Children's Service Coordinator of Child-Parent Centers.  Her name is Leo Lundholm and she is one of the most gifted educators I know.  Enjoy her blog!
A Study of Paper

Our curriculum approach values  the process of learning the qualities and attributes of materials.  Too often teachers:

  • jump to encouraging children to make something representational 

  • children have had time to explore the qualities and attributes of the materials.

Four teachers (Irasema Gerriets, Silvia Figueroa, Brenda Morales and Cecilia Mendibles) in our Sunnyside Head Start Center facilitated a yearlong Study of Paper  in their preschool classrooms. Paper is something we often take for granted it is a material most frequently used for writing so when the teachers began to think about paper as a material to study they had a lot of questions. “Paper… what about it?”  “Where do we start?” and “What about paper would be interesting to the children?” 

The teacher’s began the year with:
  • setting up their classroom environment that offered the children several different types, textures, colors, weights, and sizes of paper. 

The teacher’s then posed three questions to the children: 
  • “What is paper?” 
  • “Where do we find it?”
  • “What can it be used for?”   

From these responses the teachers acquired a deeper understanding of where to begin. The study began with children exploring  paper’s many transformational properties.  A few were:
  • “Does it perform different actions; Such as folding, balling, tearing, molding, cutting,    
  •   and movement?”
  • “Can paper stand?” 
  • “What happens when it’s twisted?”
  • “Can paper be made to fly or float?”
  • “Does different paper make different sounds?” 
  • “Does paper have musical properties?”

Over the months the explorations lead to constructing, deconstructing and generating their ideas about paper!

The children spent many months studying paper pulp, they were intrigued by all the ways it could be transformed. One day the teachers noticed that the children were trying to find ways to make the paper pulp stand; they applied many different strategies some that were successful and others that were not. After some very thoughtful discussion the teachers decided to introduce wire to extend the paper pulp exploration. 

Wire further supported the children’s theories and understanding about paper. The children explored more complex applications of design, structure and creativity.  The result was the creation of the paper dolls that Enrique blogged about last month.  The possibilities are endless, including the creating of baskets (basket weaving) and the creating of piƱatas!

When materials are:
  • thoughtfully offered to children
  • carefully mixed with other materials
  • it offers children countless opportunities to reflect, design, construct and create with new depth and breath. 

Leonor Lundholm
Children’s Services Coordinator 
Child-Parent Centers Inc.


  1. Excellent post! There certainly were valuable brain connections being made for these fortunate children, through these opportunities to explore and experiment in a variety of ways.

    1. Absolutely Deborah....this center is a real gem and a great example of what's possible.


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