Edited from an earlier post from 2017
By Katie Muller
As an example of how an 'ideas catalogue' for locally-made school resources could work, here are some images of dolls I made, which I use in my classroom for my students to tell stories and develop literacy skills.
Now, these dolls are hugely imperfect and badly made, even though I put a lot of love into them during the December Holidays last year. They are fragile and have suffered some serious blows to their material integrity during the year (have a closer look at the little boy's arm...) but at the end of the day, they have been a very valuable resource in my class. We use them to tell stories, write stories and make homemade books for my students to read, but they also have way more potential to be used in many other ways. My point is that dolls have the potential to be an invaluable resource in any foundation phase classroom, but they are a) difficult to make if you don't know what you are doing, b) they can be expensive if you buy them from a shop and c) if you can by them from a shop, they are often still overpriced, euro-centric and kak.
So to my mind, dolls are an ideal example of resources that could be made by artists and artisans for children to use in schools. Artists would get an income, children would get dolls to play and learn with. Read more about this idea here. Plus dolls are super fun to make, they are very open-ended and non-prescriptive both in terms of how they look and what they are made of.
Also, from my experience little kids don't have terribly high standards about what they are happy to play with, so I am not suggesting that dolls children use in classrooms need to be exceptionally gorgeous or finely made (although obviously if that's your vibe, go for it) . They really just need to be durable and preferably inexpensive. The amazing thing about dolls/figures especially is that children imbue them with the personality and specialness they need to become prized objects. They gain value from the children's interactions not from their original beauty or expense.
Hi, welcome to our 'make' blog. This is where we get handsy. Projects will vary from musical to sculptural, from hi-tech to low-fi.