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Focused Community Activity

In the past our Kite CIC Sponsorship Fund was used to pay for specific children to attend art classes free of charge. We’ve been following this model for a number of years through fund raising events like our Winter Fair, Yard Sales, Summer Party, Pop Up Craft Nights and Writers in the Dark evenings.

In addition to the individual places, for 2016 we decided to add a group sponsored model and focus the use of the sponsorship fund at a single school for one term. The thinking was to try this idea out and if successful raise money to keep it going.

More Than Just Clay

Wendell SEN-GT Celia and Pupil on WheelHaving worked with Wendell Park Primary before, Auriol contacted the school to check if they would be interested in exploring the use of clay as a way to improve the learning ability of children.

The pupils would attend 1 class per week for a 6 week period at Kite Studios. This would allow them to leave their classroom setting and experience what working in an art studio would be like.

Chole Harman, the Year 3 teacher at the school, identified 4 SEN and 4 Gifted & Talented children that would form the first class. During the Spring term, the 8 pupils attended a special Create in Clay class, taught by Auriol Herford, founder of Kite Studios.

Clay for Enhancing Learning

Wendell SEN-GT Clay Bowls and MugsThere are few art mediums that stimulate growth and skills in children in the way that clay does. During the classes the children used a pottery wheel, had their work fired, used glazes and learnt basic hand building techniques.  The objective was for them to understand the nature of clay and see the process from beginning to end. The criteria used to select the 2 different groups are described below by Chole Harman:

SEN Children

“These can be children with emotional, behaviour or learning needs. Auriol (from Kite) is going to work with her son’s occupational therapist to come up with some sort of checklist to gauge the impact the sessions are having on each child – so it’s not just about whether or not they enjoy it (which hopefully they will) but also the impact it’s had on their behaviour / learning after the session, the impact this has then had on their class, have they been calmer? More engaged? It may only make a tiny difference but it’s a start…!” – Chloe Harman

 Gifted and Talented

“These won’t necessarily be children who are gifted and talented in art. It would be more beneficial to them if they were G&T in maths (or whatever) but struggled with risk taking / afraid of making mistakes. Or it might be someone who’s G&T in art but has poor communication skills…” – Chloe Harman

Initial Feedback

The early feedback we have received has been very positive. The children, parents and teachers have thoroughly enjoyed the classes. Initial assessments were made of the pupils before the classes started, but it’s too early to tell if their experience with clay has improved their learning and focus. Watch this space!

Below are more photos of what the children created during the 6 week period.

Wendell SEN-GT class glazedWendell SEN-GT Pinch Pots and hands