The Satakieli arts kindergarten city project - Katja Ståhl
The Satakieli arts kindergarten autumn term started with a move into new premises. During the summer the wing of our new kindergarten had been completed. The kindergarten received new renovated spaces in an old hospital building. The pre-school group moved into the new premises already in the autumn while the other groups moved in during January.
We have often had a common theme for the whole kindergarten, within the framework of which the art activities are carried out. During the previous year our theme was “The enchanted forest”. This year the groups wanted to select their own themes. The group of the smallest children picked “Traffic” as their theme. The middle group chose “Human beings” as their theme, and the pre-school group looked at the theme of “Outer space”. All themes, however, ended up in the urban environment in one way or another. And the spring culminates in May in a joint-spring show called “The Nightingale City”.
And as a special treat at the end there awaits a train journey into the big wide world: the Heureka Science Centre inVantaa!
The pre-school group familiarised themselves with the theme of outer space through literature. Mauri Kunnas’s book about outer space sent us on our trip into space. The planets of our solar system became familiar and together we created excellent planets in the tall atelier space.
Our space journey culminated in a trip we took together to the moon with our home-made rocket. Parts of old electronic equipment, disassembled by the diligent and curious little engineers’ hands, were reused to build the rocket machinery.
We filmed our rocket trip as an animation and the parents too got to see it during the parents’ evening.
From space we landed on Earth to wonder about the urban environment. We contemplated what would be our favourite place inLahtiand we drew pictures of it. These pictures and stories were later published in the 30-year anniversary commemorative edition of the Uusi Lahti newspaper.
Together we painted a city with streets, squares and shopping malls. For the children of the Laune city district essential in the city were, of course, the Prisma, Citymarket, and Lidl supermarkets, the HopLop adventure playground and the flee market which they had recently visited. A lot of new toys were acquired from the flee market for the pre-school group for just a couple of Euros.
Our middle group, where the smaller groups the Sinitiaiset [Blue Tits] and Punatulkut [Bullfinches], are active, studied the theme of humans. For them the urban environment was constructed around their own home and home surroundings. The children painted pictures of their own home and their family and these were placed on a map of the Laune area which the children had painted together.
The smallest children in the Satakieli kindergarten, the Keltasirkut [Yellowhammers] and Viherpeipot [Green Finches], have familiarised themselves with the city traffic. The traffic signs have been so interesting that these small city residents know them better than many of the big city residents. Every week somebody has had the opportunity to be a traffic supervisor. The traffic supervisor has been given special tasks in the group, and the best thing has been that they have been allowed to carry out these tasks with a computer.
As a craftwork project each child in the group designed his or her own vehicle, carried out as a real vehicle in a woodwork project. Inspired by our neighbouring building site, many cranes were created and, perhaps inspired by our bus trip, an amazing glittering bus as well.
The seven children in the Punatulkut group participated in Sara’s workshop. In the first session we thought about the good and bad sides of the urban environment. It was quite hard to find unpleasant things. But when you really thought about it, “Little brother” was sometimes not so nice… Planting trees would be nice, as would being able to tend your own garden. And in many children’s opinion the HopLop adventure playground was a good thing.
The following workshop was held in the city. We took the bus to the main square and walked around in the centre, looking at the buildings and traffic. The children’s concept of beauty differed surprisingly from my own: when we were onVapaudenkatu street, I asked them what in their opinion was a beautiful building and they pointed at the new “glass palace” of the Lahti Parish Union and not the adjacent old building, which in my own opinion is beautiful. Then came thehigh pointof the workshop: the juice and biscuit break! After this there was a really nice painting session where the children could continuously exchange papers with their neighbour and continue on a picture that somebody else had been painting.
The third workshop again took place in the Satakieli kindergarten, and now we could really build a city in miniature. We used sand, modelling clay, building blocks and all nice things!
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