Today was my first session of the Making Memories project, and I worked with two groups of children from First Steps Nursery at The Secret Garden in Salisbury.
The preschool children used the Explorer Boxes that I had made for them, plus magnifying glasses and binoculars, and were fascinated by the insects and other small creatures that they could find.
Included in their boxes were transparent plastic containers, string, paper, small fibre pots, and mark making materials. One boy was really taken by the role of being an explorer and chased imaginary foxes and rats through the bushes, or spied on other children from behind trees with his binoculars.
Another boy loved the string, and used it to wrap and tie around branches and upright wooden stakes, before creating some grass from it on the lid of his box, for the horse that he drew there. Several of the pre-school children also took the opportunity to personalise their explorer boxes with drawings.
The younger children, who were around two years old, were a little more wary but soon started to warm up. I offered them clay, compost, pine cones, charcoal and chalk, and paper – plus anything else that they found and wanted to gather.
Today was a beginning for all of us, a chance to meet each other and to start to get to know the garden, its spaces, its inhabitants and the possibilities that it offers for play. On Wednesday I’ll be working with the staff team and some of the parents back at the Nursery, sharing the hows and whys of the project and bringing the outside inside, to give them a chance to have a play too.
Please search for #MakeMemoryWilts on Twitter and Facebook for more updates, and got to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/making-memories-1 to help us raise the funds that we need to expand the project.