“I would like to learn how clothes are made”, “I would like to know what clothes are made of!”
One of the first “missions” of our Early Years (our nursery school, the first part of the Primary Years Programme) teachers is to engage the natural curiosity of the children. Guiding them by starting with their questions is the best way to explore the world. And if you think there are things that are too difficult to explain or teach, this is simply not the case.
Children who design and sew their own clothes? It's certainly possible! In the past few weeks, Fashion was one of the themes of the creative ateliers created by our teachers: together with their teacher Vicky Cheban, the children first investigated what they already knew about clothes and fashion ("Fashion means dressing to keep warm" , said Lorenzo), and then they thought of what things they wanted to learn about clothes ("Where does the glitter on my t shirt come from?"). They also learned to dress themselves and the name of the different items of clothing by singing the song, "“This is the way we get dressed in the morning” and helping each other to “get dressed.” The students showed each other that they are "caring". Through an educational game on the iPad, they built on their vocabulary of clothing and body parts, and read a book on how to make cotton. They were all surprised to learn that it comes from a plant.
Using their iPads again, they sketched designs of clothes and then made them themselves, with a needle and thread. This journey allowed them to discover the various types of materials (which are hot? which are light?) and the many types of clothes we can find in our closet.
During the Atelier, the children had the opportunity to develop their teamwork and communication skills, helping each other and asking the adults at school what fashion means to them. They also refined their fine motor skills through sewing and expressed their creativity. An important aspect of the IB programme is the moment of reflection at the end of the Atelier. Nicolò said, "I do the T-shirt. I learn to put my shoes on by myself. I learn what is the cotton and what is not. I learn that cotton is a plant and wool comes from sheep. Plastic from petroleum under the sea. I like best do the T-shirt ”.