Friday 25 December 2015

December in kindergarten

Hello everyone,

As you may know, I am a kindergarten teacher. In this post I thought I would show you a little bit of what we’ve been up to in class over the past month.

Our class celebrates advent every year. Our book for the month wasEin Weihnachtsfest für kleine Engel” (Jana Frey), a story about angels. So for our advent ritual, I prepared a special “angel” themed chair.

I painted the chair with white acrylic, and layered then some light blue acrylic on top using a sponge to make it look more like a “heavenly” cloud. 

The chair after the sponge "treatment"
To create the angel's wings I took cardboard and painted with a large size brush some detail to make it look more "feathery". Once everything was dry I attached the wings to the chair with white string. Unfortunately I did not save any of the light blue paint for the string, which only became apparent once it was too late! Nevertheless, when the kids are sitting on the chair, no one will notice that small detail. With the chair finished, I added some fairy light with feathers as a finishing touch.

The final "angel" chair
For the next phase of our advent celebrations, we would choose one child from the class to be our “advent child”. This would change every day, eventually giving every child in the class the chance to be chosen. The students would know who would be the advent child by finding a star in one of their slippers. That child would then be able to sit on the "angel" chair and choose what games the class would play, as well as being in "charge" of the morning ritual. If you like, I can tell you more about it in another post.

After this we move on to the advent ritual, where we turn off the main room lights, and turn on the fairy lights while the advent child lights a candle. Around this candle we arrange all the gifts for the class, one for each student, each one labeled with a different number. The advent child then searches the gifts for their assigned number and we write the name of the student on it and put it back next to the candle. In order to not ruin the surprise for everyone, we decided that each child would only be able to open their gift once everyone had had their turn as advent child and received a present.

The candle and gifts
Each day we would tell the children the next part of the angel’s story, which would lead us into revealing the gifts on the final day. I know a lot of you will think it looks really kitsch, but I promise you, the kids loved it!

The advent's gift: a "good luck" stone and a angel's feather
As the angels were our companion during this month, the kids also made some themed gifts for the parents. The first was a large angel made of wood and plaster. Secondly they made a smaller angel with a yogurt beaker, some felt, a paper head, some glittery metal string and some angel's hair.

Some of the angels
As we had the parents coming to visit us on the 23rd of December, I decided to bake some Christmas cookies with the class. We added one large Christmas tree cookie to the gifts, then with the leftover dough we made snowflake cookies for the parents’ morning.

I really enjoy baking at home, so to share this passion with my pupils is a pleasure, even if afterwards I would have to clean up a big mess. I wish I could send you a cookie through the world wide web to wish you a merry Christmas...

Have a good one

Thursday 10 December 2015

Alois Carigiet

Hello everyone,

Here I am, with my second post.

Last Friday I was in Zurich for the day, as I wanted to visit the exhibition of Alois Carigiet at the Landes Museum of Zurich.

Alois Carigiet was the illustrator of many of my favourite books as a child, although he is not as well known outside of Switzerland. The most famous of these books is "Schellen Ursli", authored by Selina Chönz. 

A sketch of "Schellen Ursli"

It has been a long time since I last read their books, so visiting this exhibition felt a little bit like walking down memory lane. Rooms of the gallery had been transformed to resemble scenes from Carigiet’s books, as well as the town where Carigiet lived. 

As an example, one room had the feeling of being in a typical "grabündner" square, with the distinct architecture and tiny windows. In the middle of this square is an old sledge, a reference to one of Carigiet’s works (“Der grosse Schnee”). Each detail elicits a childhood memory of Carigiet’s work.

The square with the sledge

As one might expect, the exhibition included many pieces from "Schellen Ursli", but it was particularly interesting to see the inclusion of some of Carigiet’s less well known work, which included several scenery paintings and sketches.
View from a mail-bus ("Postauto")
A New Year's card

The timing of this exhibition was presumably chosen to coincide with the release of the new film adaptation of "Schellen Ursli", which I have not had the pleasure of seeing yet, although I intend to do so. I know it's a kids’ movie, but who doesn't enjoy a good nostalgia trip, especially when it’s produced by the Oscar winning Xavier Koller?!

If you are in the region and would like to see the exhibition, it's still open until the 3rd of January 2016 at the Landesmuseum in Zurich.

Have a good one

Thursday 3 December 2015

First post

Hello everyone,

Here I am, starting a new adventure.

I'm a Swiss kindergarten teacher, that spends way too much time traveling. So these will be the main subjects of this blog: crafts and travels, but you will probably also find some posts about cooking and baking.

At the moment I call "home" three different places: two places in Switzerland (one where I grew up and one where I work) and London (where my boyfriend lives).

Why did I choose this name for my blog? Since I was a kid I've been obsessed with foxes, and I like dots: on bags, clothes, pens, penholders ... even my stapler has dots (I know, really kindergarten teacher stereotype).

I'm also a collector. I collect fabrics, masking tapes, illustrated children books, ...

That's all for now, let's see how long I'll last in the jungle :)

Have a good one