The Song Apron Project – Creating a Legacy Piece
A recent project at Lady Gowrie Red Hill Community Kindy has created an opportunity for children to be part of a project that has supported their exploration of caring for precious things and for using their creativity to build a legacy piece for the Kindergarten.
In Term 1, two children noticed how tatty our beloved Song Apron was and suggested we get a new one. We explained that the apron had been handmade and that although it was very old, it was a unique piece. The concept that we couldn’t just buy another one was a tricky concept to think through. The children then suggested “We can help you make a new one!” This became the springboard for a project that has spanned Terms 2 and 3: The Song Apron Project.
The project began by working with children on how to sew collaboratively with needle and thread. We used a large piece of hessian, needle and wool for children to become acquainted with the sewing technique. Many children had never experienced this and the experience supported children with directionality concepts … in/out, required focus, coordination and control. Unhurried time to explore the sewing process enabled children to spend time together as a small group, sharing in a collaborative experience.
The next part of the project was engaging with individual looms. Each child in the group was invited to engage in using the looms, further supporting directionality and finger dexterity. Concepts such as perseverance, having a go and concentration were explored as we spent time learning a new skill.
After sharing a story about Coco Chanel with the group, the children were able to find commonality in learning to sew with a needle and thread at a young age. This created a sense of shared purpose around creating something together and that we created with our own hands!
Into Term 3 the children began to create designs and explore the possibilities of what our new Song Apron might look like. There was much diversity in thought around ideas for the apron. The designs came together as a shared construct, and it was exciting to see it taking shape. There is much joy in a sense of shared purpose and learning created through collaborative work, through listening and learning, discussing and imagining together.
This began the last step in our project, sewing pockets onto our new Song Apron. Children were able to see their ideas and designs come to life and watch a new Story Apron take shape. After weeks of planning, designing and sewing practice, the new Song Apron took shape.
It was then time to try out the new Song Apron. How exciting to use something we had created with our own hands! A sense of wonder and excitement filled the space as we used the new apron together. We even had to think about expanding our song repertoire to match our newly created Song Apron.
Our new apron is now in full commission and being used with joy. However, our old apron hangs proudly in the room as a reminder of the power of children’s ideas, of caring for special things and that not everything we want can be bought – some things can be made by hand and require creativity, time and patience. These things become special to us and hold a unique and special place in our hearts and minds, as well as in our memories.
On reflection of this project, sewing with children is a powerful craft for developing pre-literacy concepts, spatial awareness, directionality, upper arm strength, and finger dexterity and hand/eye coordination. Perhaps more powerfully though, the project has developed children’s sense of having been part of creating a resource that will be used at Red Hill Kindy for years to come. The apron is now a legacy piece and the wonder will come in how this piece is loved for years to come.
“Learning should be based, not only on the interaction between adults and children, but also on what children learn from each other. The group of children should be regarded as an important and active part in development and learning” (Skolverket, 2010, p. 6).
Written by Sarah Bryce and Kirstin Schmal, Lady Gowrie Red Hill Community Kindy