I've not written much about our Little World lately, largely because my focus has shifted to making our new outdoor construction/tinkering area and garden work. Interest has ebbed and flowed depending on what new materials or art project is attached to the station, but more often than not the children use it as a place of respite from the parts of the outdoor classroom where the play tends to be more intense. They retreat there in groups of 2-3, or even alone, to have discussions or to mull over some of the "loose parts" they find there.
Ahh! A praying mantis ceramic bird hybrid!
I spent the first few weeks of Little World trying to create the ethic that the things you find there should stay there, but I should have known that would be like pushing water uphill. Relaxing this rule has allowed Little World to become a resource for play in other parts of the playground. By now, for instance, you can hardly lift a shovel in the sand pit without discovering some lost jewel or fairy.
But for the most part Little World exists for us as a peaceful retreat in the midst of very active play.
Yesterday, however, a strange and wonderful thing happened. One-hundred and nine paper bag mushroooms sprang up and filled Little World.
Several parents took photos which I'm sure will be better than these, but you get the idea. The weather finally cooperated (paper bag mushrooms don't do well in the rain) and we took the opportunity to install the mushrooms we made as our participation in the Spore Project, an international initiative to draw attention to arts education and the artistic potential in every day objects.
This was just a "private showing" of the mushrooms and I gathered them all up again at the end of the day (I've learned from experience that even the overnight dew can make them rather soggy). We will do another installation today, possibly in Little World again, but possibly elsewhere, then we're planning a public installation at a local park. I think it will be fun to see people respond to our work.