The children and staff at Ashmount School have been discovering new and exciting ways to Unlock the World with dance artist Liz Clark, form Turned On its Head. During the residency, Liz has been transforming the school hall into a mobile Sensory Art studio. Sessions start with a clear space with a large screen and giant beanbags. The students and staff are immediately bought back into the creative space by being invited to watch footage and images of themselves from the previous day. This gives everybody a unique sense of themselves and insight into the individual creative risks they each took. Everybody seems really intrigued and is enjoying recognising themselves and their peers.
“Look that’s me look at what I’m doing”
As the session progresses a range of different sensory materials are gently introduced. The children are given time to explore each sensory material and develop their own individual interests and way to discover the material. Accompanying the exploration is Liz’s unique form of contact improvisation which uses physical touch and movement to cognitively reassure and affirm the child.
The groups have explored the properties of squidgy sponge, stretchy Lycra, shiny foil, cardboard, hard buckets and comfy cushions. They have been experimenting with their own bodies and how they can move, stretch, swing, spin, run and hide in these materials. There have been so many delightful experiences as children make their own discoveries for example:
One child hides completely within two buckets: “The amazing disappearing Jack”
Another child rolls himself over and over in a long piece of white lycra: “Im a zombie”
Another child giggles happily as she is been swung to a fro in a giant piece of lyrca and signs over and over again: “More”
Another child is delighted by the sound and vibrations she can make when a bucket is on her head. This develops into a game.
The daily sessions have allowed the Artist, Liz to build relationships with children and staff and as the week has gone on the children and staff have been more and more confident to take new risks. The sessions have allowed the children and staff to begin exploring quite a different approach to the school day and although it’s all new and potentially daunting, everyone has embraced the project with open arms!
Liz has been able to build on children individual interests and fascinations and develop the sessions to include more of what those were. Being encouraged to follow the children’s motivations and patterns of play has been an affirming opportunity for all involved.
“It has made me realise that the children need more time to explore” KS1 Teacher
It’s been very clear that children and staff are having a lot of fun playing and learning together!
“I think everybody has taken something form it”