These monthly gingerbread art workshops seem to come around quite quickly, for this session I had decided that we would be painting stones. I thought this would give scope for the children to work at an age appropriate pace. For this workshop, I first had to collect some stones, so it was a trip the the beach with a carrier bag then laying them out to dry thoroughly prior to painting a selection of them white so that the children had a clean page to work on. I also found a selection of images from Google images to give the children some ideas as to what they could paint, this ranged from ladybirds, butterflies, flowers and abstract patterns. I arrived at Mostyn at 11am and set up the workspace, the parents meeting and workshop are held in the meeting room behind the shop, I’m aware that the space is also hired for meeting by other organisations so I’m concious about keeping the area as clean as possible without spoiling the children’s enjoyment
Once the group had had their lunch they joined me for the workshop, there were 7 children today and there now seems to be an even divide of older and younger children, most of the children I have now seen on a few occasions and they are all quite comfortable with me. The older 2 who have attended every session are usually the first to arrive and are always keen to find out what we will be doing, they chat quite openly with me about what they are doing at school, about what they like and dislike doing, and they often hang back at the end to help tidy up and offer suggestions as to what we could do next time. I like that they do this as I feel that I have built a connection with them.
Once again, the children seemed to enjoy the activity, some of the younger ones did seem to get quickly finish painting a stone before moving onto another one, at this stage I encouraged them to leave them to dry and then go back to them to work on them again. I think they all produced some great painted stones to take home with them, however I think in future I need to consider how they are going to transport things home at the end of the sessions. I do also need to start clearing up a bit earlier than I have been, the meeting finishes at 2pm and most of the parents are keen to leave then, instead they are kept waiting whilst we sort out the children’s work, next time I will start to clear up at 1.50, then hopefully I’ll be able to get out on time too.
At the end of the workshop, I had a chat with the meeting leader and one of the parents, I told them that I have taken photographs of the work at each workshop and told them if they wanted to use them they were welcome to. They invited me to join their Facebook group where they would be more than happy for me to post the photographs in order to encourage more of their members to attend the meetings. From my own point of view, I was offered a six month contract to run the workshops, this is more likely to be extended if attendance continues to improve, by sharing the photos, it will hopefully show that the children are enjoying themselves.