Sunday, 1 September 2013

Unit 2 - arts project leadership

Project report

In total 40 children created some wonderfully imaginative masks. Each child was working on their mask for 30-60 minutes. As each child completed his or her mask another child would take the available space. All of the children were extremely well behaved and thoroughly engrossed in what they were doing. All of the masks were unique with the exception of two yellow chick masks produced by two children sitting next to each other. I was surprised that this did not happen more often but the children on the whole showed that they had great imaginations.

Feedback from participants
As the children were mostly 5-6 years old I had to keep the questions that I asked them brief, simple and easy to understand. Most of the children would not stand still long enough to answer the questions and ran off to play with their new masks. I asked a few of the children several questions:

1) What did you like most about this workshop?
I liked that there was a theme so that I didn't have to think of something to make.
I like the feathers.
I liked being able to make an animal in any colour I wanted.

2) What did you like least?
The fact that I had to use human shaped masks.
I had too much choice. I would prefer to be told to make a particular animal – perhaps a choice of two different animals.
I wanted to use scissors to cut my mask into a different shape.

3) What could have been done differently?
To be given a choice of animals rather than any animal would have made it easier for me to choose.
I wanted to make a horse mask but didn't have the right equipment to change the shape on the mask.
I needed more space to work. I think there were too many kids working at one time.

4) What other equipment would you have liked to have available?
Sequins, glitter, drinking straws, scissors.

How could I improve this workshop
I could have used a larger work space or have fewer children working at one time. Six children at a time would mean I could pay more attention to each child's needs. I found that I was running around from child to child rather than spending more time with each child in order to give encouragement and advice.
I had a helper to supervise the children but I needed at least one more helper, although there were not any around at the time. With only six children participating this would not have been a problem.
I think I coped well with the children. They were quite demanding but happy and the fact that they were engrossed meant that they behaved well.
I was intending that the masks would be worn for the end of play scheme party but the children took the masks home and did not bring them back today. I should have kept the masks at the work space and handed them out at the party.

Unit 2 - arts project leadership

Children's play scheme animal mask workshop

On Thursday 28th August I hosted a workshop for children aged 5-11 at a local charity-run play scheme where I had worked as a volunteer helper for three weeks. I set up the work table before the children arrived because it would be easier to get all of the equipment needed set up and in place without them being around.

As soon as the children arrived the 12 available spaces filled up. The children had been told about the workshop the day before so that they could start thinking about what kind of animal mask they wanted to make.

To start them off I told them that if they needed any other equipment or help that they must come to me. I deliberately did not include scissors in the available equipment and told the children that they could rip tissue paper and craft paper rather than cutting it as it would create a more authentic look to their animal masks. I made it clear that if anybody misbehaved their place would be taken immediately by another child as I had many others waiting to make masks.

I gave them a very loose brief as to what to do. I talked them through the equipment, paints and decorations available and told them that they could create any animal in any colour, either realistic or fantasy, that they wished.

Despite having quite a large group of children at the workshop and only one helper I was able to spend brief amounts of time with each child and was available to answer questions and help them if there was anything that they did not fully understand or were unable to do. My instructions were delivered in stages. I gave the children one instruction at a time. I did find that they all worked at different paces and so some of them were ready for the next instructions before others. Instead of waiting for them all to catch up I let those who were ready move on to the next stages so that they were able to finish their masks, leave the table and make space for those children who were waiting to take part. I did not find that any children had a problem deciding what kind of masks they were going to make and once their decision was made they were eager to begin. They were all able to follow my step by step instructions easily although some needed help with gluing. I also had to constantly tidy up the paints, water, glue, etc on the table so that tools and equipment were easy to find.

The group leader was very positive about my idea for a mask workshop and when I gave him a list of materials that would be needed he bought them straight away. I have worked with him for three years now so he knows me well enough to understand that I am capable of keeping the children under control and focused. One of the younger volunteer helpers chose to come and help with the workshop and I explained how it was going to progress before the workshop began so that she knew what to expect and what would be required of her. She was very supportive and helped me to keep an eye on the children's needs as well as making sure that none of them left the table unnecessarily before they had finished their masks.

I did not experience any unexpected situations during the workshop other than the fact that so many children wanted to be involved. I had expected only a handful of them to be interested enough to take part. I explained to them at the beginning of the workshop what their finished masks may look like and suggested various ways of decorating them. They all listened carefully to me and were quiet and attentive while I was talking. They were animated and talkative but well behaved while they created their masks and a few of them appeared to be helping others with ideas.