Designing an Inspiring Reading and Listening Space for Rachel Keeling Nursery School – An Update

Work towards creating the listening and reading space at Rachel Keeling has been under way. As usual, I’ve been getting lots done, but forgetting to document it here. Hello Cleo? That’s what blogs are for! I am still struggling with the ‘of the moment’ nature of blogging.

So far I’ve spent three sessions in the nursery creating the printed fabric that will be the canopy over the listening and reading area. I have cut the plain fabric canvas into approximately 1 meter lengths to make it more workable with. I did try to cleverly fold it so I could avoid having to stitch it back together, but that was not to be.

For each child to print, I masked out an approximately 100mm high width of the fabric on either side of the table. allowing two children to print at the same time. I have collected a selection of objects from around the nursery that I predicted would make interesting prints and would also cover the fabric quickly, with as much impact as possible. I did supply some smaller items to begin with, but this took the children a long time to work with and the marks got lost in the big white space of the fabric.

About  28 children have printed so far, each of them creating their own unique strip. This has been achieved with amazing support from the nursery staff at Rachel Keeling, especially Rohima Begum, one of the school’s teaching assistants. Rohima has worked along side me for the majority of the sessions to help each child understand how to roll out the inks and then coat the ink on to the objects, how to make choices about where they would like to place their prints, and how to apply pressure to get the best print possible. We have practiced numeracy, considered and estimated space with the children and we have experimented with shape and repeating pattern. There is probably a whole load of other great learning stuff in there too.

Looking forward to the final construction of the project, I’m contemplating ‘patchworking’ these fabrics with others in the final canopy. The prints look amazing and I think that co-ordinating them with other prints will bring out the best in them and create a strong final look that will work for the nursery for a long time.

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