Children's hands squishing wet clay.

For the past two years we have been challenging ourselves at Frog Hollow to explore the language of clay.

Clay is a magical material. It is simple and yet filled with possibilities. What we have learned in our journey is that very few children and adults are comfortable with clay when just introduced to it. The sticky, slimy, cold feeling makes it uncomfortable to manipulate. After challenging ourselves to bring clay out and manipulate it, we have noticed that perhaps it is the unfamiliarity of this material that makes us all so uncomfortable with it.

Our educators have since learned to change their own image of clay. Clay doesn't have to be put it in small pieces on individual trays with tools or other material to be understood.  It needs to be out as its own material, with its own personalities and possibilities. We need to understand its natural elements, its characteristics. We need to simply start living with it rather than producing with it.

This week's journal is from one of our School Age Educators as she shares her feelings and reflections at the beginning of her journey with clay.

Interested to learn more about our journey with clay? Join us on our pre-conference evening to hear our stories, view our gallery and interact with clay. (click here for more information)

I wanted to face my uncomfortableness with clay. I decided to face it head on and so I sat down next to the clay invitation. I started manipulating the clay, lifting it in smaller chunks and throwing it down on the plastic. I was mostly ignored. I got a couple of “What are you doing Angela?” It wasn’t until I lifted a really big chunk of clay and dropped it that some children joined me so that they could drop the big chunk of clay too. Then fun and excitement with the clay ensued.

My Reflections: I am not comfortable with most sensory things and I knew that I would really, really have to push myself out of my comfort zone to play with the clay. When everyone was ignoring me, my wonders were: Is it me? Do they not like me? Can the children tell I am not comfortable sitting here in my uncomfortableness? Is it because I am an adult and I shouldn’t be playing with clay? Do they not like clay? Why were only a couple of children interested in what I was doing when I was making smaller manipulations with the clay? (Although not interested enough to sit down with me!)