Over the past term we have been working with Clay in our Early learning program as well as in the open workshops.
Clay is a versatile medium and supports children’s skills development on many levels. The grade R learners at Funimfundo made their own clay beads from scratch and in the process rolled the beads , dried them , pocked holes into them, painted and strung them into beautiful necklaces. The end product gives much joy , excitement and the sense of achievement.
It gives self worth to see what ones hands can do and children are encouraged to solve problems in the process of working towards a goal.
Clay teaches children to apply themselves with their full bodies, they can lean into the medium as it has substance and gives stability. Recent studies have shown that clay has a calming effect on the nervous system and therefore it is specifically important for children who are emotionally challenged.
Clay is also a very forgiving medium as you can change and mold it , it enhances Hand skills, Dexterity, Self control and Creativity. We can play with Clay, we can mess and be in touch with the Earth which brings us close to ourselves and who we really are……natural beings.
Education begins the moment we see children as innately wise and capable beings. Only then can we play along in their world.