Mapping has been an interest for many of the Sturt House children in 2018. It started with ‘hide and seek with maps’ the year before in Preschool House and grew into treasure maps, maps to go in adventure backpacks, maps about Nature Play, maps of Flinders, maps from holidays and maps found in books. We explored maps in many ways; their curiosity never satisfied.
In late October, educators posed an invitation to the children; could we make a map of Sturt House? Out intention was to bring together several ideas; mapping and collaborative work as an extension of the virtue of cooperation. We discussed the idea with the children and one child suggested that we could make the map ‘so that the Preschool House children would know how to get to Sturt House’. This idea consolidated the project by introducing the notion of giving, our final virtue focus for the year. And so, the project; ‘A Map for the Preschool House Children Coming to Sturt House’ began.
The project presented many problems for the educators and children to solve. How were we going to coordinate all the children’s contributions? How were we going to keep the map roughly to scale? What materials should we use to make the map?
We decided to use Google Earth as a starting point; projecting the image of Flinders onto the wall for the children to explore and ultimately trace. This tracing gave us the structure for our map and now we were ready to add the children’s contributions. After planning, each child drew one or more components using felt pens and cut them out ready to collage onto the canvas.
The drawing and collage of the components was a time of careful thought for the children; how to represent objects in bird’s eye view, how big should they be, and where and how should they be positioned on the map. Careful observation and discussion with peers and educators helped to organise their thinking about these complex concepts. The collaborative nature of the project allowed children to spend more time on tasks which suited them and their learning style.
This wonderful project was a representation of how well we ‘know’ Sturt House. It speaks volumes of the children’s sense of belonging and identity at Flinders. It depicts all that we hold dear and want to pass on. In December the map was given to the children who will attend Sturt House next year. It is our hope that those who now hold the map will also come to know and find their place of belonging too.