For some time Pippa's sister, Tina, has been keen to do some
art-work with a couple of the Nursery schools that we have been
helping. This February she and her daughter, Frances, had gone into
action and had done some advance preparation to enable our Pageant
group to help the children to make and populate a jungle at
Kings Kid Academy and an ocean at
This meant that, as well as all the other things in their luggage
(like vast quantities of science kit and a few clothes!), they had
brought some rolls of strong brown paper, powder paints, sponges,
brushes, scissors and colouring pens and pencils to take to the
selected schools. As well as these they had prepared and drawn a
wonderful collection of jungle animals and sea creatures on strong
white card, all ready to be coloured and cut out, plus some sheets
of coloured cellophane and crinkly paper to add depth to the
finished works of art.
Kings Kid Academy - The
The first school to take part in a Tina art
session was King's Kid Academy (KKA), which we had arranged to visit
one morning to see the progress on their building work. Read more
about KKA on its
own web page,
and also see pictures when Plymouth-Banjul Challenge teams
Desert Mice and
First to the Bar visited KKA. The
school was expecting us - but the jungle was a complete surprise!
After a delightful
welcome ceremony ... and group presentations from the
we explained to the headmaster what we wanted to do. Somewhat
surprised, but willing, he allowed us to take all the nursery school
classes into one of the larger classrooms and Tina set about
organising both us and the children into groups doing various things
which would eventually be put together to make the jungle.
Now, one has to realise that these children have NEVER had any art
materials to use before. They may have been able to use a few
coloured pencils from time to time, but... dipping sponges into dishes
of bright squidgy paint and then being able to press them onto large
areas of paper; using big brushes to dip into bright paint and make
patterns / splodges; colouring lots of animals with felt-tips /
paints; glueing things onto other things; and being able to do all
these thing all together with lots of grown-up toubabs (white
people)... all this was SO much fun when they realised that, yes, they
really could do these things themselves. The teachers were as
excited as the children and entered into the project with great
So, the jungle....
..the background was the roll of brown paper, unrolled down the
classroom floor, with lots of small children having sponges and
dishes of paint in varying shades of green to press onto it.
The animals, flowers and leaves were shown to the children and Tina
explained that yes, they could colour / paint them ANY colour they
liked and they would then be cut out to go in their jungle.
The enthusiasm was unbounded and the concentration was intense - for
over an hour these small children were completely absorbed in their
work, until every square inch of jungle was green and every animal,
flower and leaf had been coloured and cut out. (We toubabs did the
Then, the great moment when it could all be put together and they
could stick the animals etc onto the base.
We all agreed it was a splendid jungle and the teachers decided it
would be put up on the wall of the nursery classrooms - the children
were delighted that they could keep it, they had thought that we
would take it away with us as it was so beautiful!
The second Tina art session was at KMJ Nursery - we have been
visiting this little school for some years now as it is the school
that the children from Kemo's compound attend before starting at
Lower Basic School. Two of his own sons are there at the moment.
There are more pictures of KMJ in February 2006 on
this news page.
Ansumana, the headteacher, was expecting us and, unlike King's Kid
Academy, he knew that Tina was going to hold a special lesson... but
even he was unprepared for the ocean! KMJ has much smaller
classrooms than KKA, so here we had to use the central 'courtyard'
to make the basic ocean (dishes of blue paint this time) while
children from different classes were organised to colour the sea
creatures and make seaweed.
Once again, the children took a little while to believe that they
could do these wonderful things themselves - but once they did,
there was no holding them.
The basic ocean took shape...
Ansumana, the headteacher,
said he was five years old for the day, and he would like to paint
and glue too. You can just see him getting involved above right.
a coral reef was enthusiastically painted...
...and the fish and other sea-creatures were coloured and stuck onto
the background, after putting it up on a wall running outside two of
above - Ansumana gets involved again,
working on the ocean background.
At the end of the morning Ansumana said it was the best lesson they
had ever had, and the children celebrated by showing us a new dance
they had just learnt from Frances and her friends while we were
clearing up - the Hokey Kokey.
Enormous fun was had by all - I am not sure who enjoyed it most -
and we all agreed that Tina's art had been a resounding success.