This is what happened in Open studio’s term 3

Friday Junior Art Group
Term continued with the notion of celebrating all cultures in South Africa, whether they originated within or without our borders. The 11 official languages were used as a guide but also including the San and Khoi cultures. The word “feast” implies that all the people of South Africa have something positive to contribute to our “cultural pot”… making it a feast.

Monday Junior Art Group
Carissa von Mayer was the visiting art specialist for term 3 and she incorporated visual art skills and life skills. The aim of this term was to explore group and individual identity using a variety of art skills. The group explored their identity by looking into the meaning of their names using beads. The portrait and my signature activity explored how one views and expresses one’s self. They family tree activity explored identity in a family structure also incorporating the skill of using wet on dry painting technique. The aims of the final three sessions was the development of understanding, communication and teamwork skills, such as planning, leadership, peer support and awareness of one’s mark in the creation processes through activities such as the squiggle game, group mural and a group banner.

ECD Monday
Women’s Day was commemorated with a gender-based theme making a lion and lioness and exploring the different roles they play. Upon completion of the art pieces, the children did a puppet show, telling a story of the different roles between male and female lions, without prompts. The rest of the term was taken up with the theme ‘Sharing is caring’. For one of the activities the children made ‘pretend food’ to share at a picnic. At the picnic one of the volunteers couldn’t attend, so one of the children said the facilitators should keep her some ‘food’. They got the theme of sharing is caring! A highlight of the term was one of younger group members being able to express herself more within the group and with facilitators.
There are new children in the group, which is encouraging as one of the core group members is moving to the older group.

ECD Friday
The theme for this term was around team work – sharing and imparting skills to create stuff out of recycled material. These themes are inspired by the responses the facilitators observed last term – that the kids love creating tangible stuff. This term started with the creation of a mini garden and going out doors was refreshing. The children also created the Hillbrow flats and small houses, and had fun creating with playdough. In all these activities the facilitators observed the children getting used to each other and that there is a sense of community and family developing. Team work and sharing is also improving, and the children now challenge themselves to speak English more than they used too (confidence).

Drama Club
The past term has shown great development and strength within the group. Participants have displayed trust in the space and that has resulted in them growing emotionally and personally. This term journals were introduced and participants are able to write or draw anything, including how they feel inside and outside of the space, general thoughts and emotions, as well as the tasks they have on a weekly basis. This has been beneficial for both the participants and the facilitators because of the following:
• Participants have been able to share thoughts and feelings, especially those they do not feel comfortable sharing vocally
• Participants are able to express themselves by either using illustrations or writing
• Facilitators are able to get a better understating of the participants thoughts and feelings
All this makes it easier for facilitators to relate and engage with the participants.

This term’s theme has been identity. What the participants understand it to be and the individuals who form and frame our personal identity. Hanna – an international volunteer – joined the group for six weeks and on her last session there was a discussion about the people who have left us and the impact/ influence they had on us. The next week the group looked at how they felt when those individuals left. It is such activities that have been emotional for participants and yet have resulted in personal growth.

Changes to come -Thank yous
After two years with the Open Studio, Santa Smale and Linda Mazibuko – the lead facilitators and mentors of the ECD Open Studio – will be leaving. We would like to thank them for their energy and presence in the groups and their guidance in mentoring students and visiting volunteers. In the coming term we will have Ntombi Nsangweni, Gugu Manana and Munya Makosa.

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