Teaching Peace with Elyse: Mobiles

“This is for you, Elyse,” he said handing me a piece of his art work.

As teachers and parents, our children often show their love by gifting us with what they have made. Being appreciative and asking them to tell us about it may not always be enough for a child.

“I want you to take it to your home. Don’t leave it here,” he admonished me when I placed it on the counter, distracted by other children.

Realizing how important it was to him, I let him know that my home had windows instead of walls. I had no place to hang it but greatly appreciated it. “Would it be all right if we found a special place here, so that I could see it whenever I arrived at school?”

He nodded and we both looked around the room that was filled with children’s art.

 “What if I hung it high up,” I asked denoting a special place for what was so special to this child.

He agreed and pointed to the highest place I could reach. Using mono-filament to attach it, our first mobile was born.

Soon after, other children wanted to attach their work to it. Little did I know that this was the start of a mobile that is still growing almost a year later.

Now, whenever a child wishes to give me a piece of their art, knowing it is a piece of their heart, I ask where they’d like to hang it on the mobile.  When we stand together and observe what they’ve added, I always feel very connected to the child.

That the mobile remains whole and thriving while hanging almost floor-length by the door- where the children line up - is testimony to the respect they show for each other’s work.

One day while waiting, a 4 year old told me about the folded orange paper he’d attached to the mobile. I asked him if I could write his words and then read them back: “Can I write what you called the never-ending orange juice waterfall?”

He looked at me with a mischievous smile and asked,

“Will your letters drip into my mouth?”

lettersdrip.jpg

In finding special places for children’s art as well as writing what they say, we show our value for their uniqueness and model  respecting their work and that of others.

Guidelines:

  • Hang mono-filament from a hook.
  • Connect the first piece of art. Be sure it is light enough. Drawings, small sculptures or collages made of paper will work well.
  • Each subsequent piece can be connected with pipe cleaners. We have used the shiny ones but any will do. You can connect directly to the mono-filament or attach carefully to another piece of art.
  • The mobile tends to take on a shape of its own depending on what is attached and where you or the children choose to place it.

Supplies:

mono-filament (fishing line)

Pipe cleaners