08 February 2008


First lesson at KMJ

After an early start, we had a few problems finding the school as it's positioned in amongst hundreds of identical-looking family compounds, sandy tracks and other buildings. Eventually we arrived, laden with all our art equipment; we took paint, brushes, sponges for printing, palettes, large pictures of animals and palm trees that we'd already drawn, a large roll of brown paper to use as a background for our display, crayons, sellotape and blutac for attaching the finished work to the walls.

We spent the morning with the youngest class (age 4) and started by reading a simple story involving lots of African animals. We then gave each child two pictures of animals to colour with wax crayons. This was the first time these children had ever used crayons so they were anxious at first but soon got the hang of it and really enjoyed it.

We then split the class in half to do sponge printing and painting - for many of the children this was also their first experience of using paints and brushes, but after a demonstration from us they got stuck in! They sponge printed large palm tree leaves and a brightly coloured background. We then sung some traditional English songs including 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes', 'If You're Happy and You Know It' and 'The Hokey Kokey'.The children loved the singing and followed along with the words as well as the actions.

We put up the animal drawings in their classroom which really brightened the place up and added lots of colour to the blank walls. Each child also took their painting home which they were very excited about having something of their own to show friends and family. Ansumana, the headmaster, and the class teacher, Fatou, thoroughly enjoyed themselves and joined in with all the activities. They all waved us off when we left, and the teachers said they were looking forward to our return on Monday!

We took loads of photos and these are just some of them, showing the children having fun doing their drawing and painting, as well as all the equipment we took with us.

Frances, Lauren and Rosie xxx

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