We linked up with local community artist Alison Ogle, who suggested the playgroup made a mosaic. The children had been doing work based on Giles Andreae's book, Rumble in the Jungle. They loved the topic so much that we chose the jungle as the mosaic's theme.
Alison asked the children to draw pictures of jungle plants and animals, and she incorporated these into her design. The design was drawn on to paper in a number of sections, so groups of children could work on different parts of the mosaic at the same time.
The tiles were made of glass, but the children were very careful handling them. Some of the older children even managed to cut the tiles with supervision. The tiles were sorted into colour groups and glued upside-down on to the paper with PVA glue. The mosaic was then covered in grout, stuck to a board, and the paper peeled off to reveal the wonderful design.
The children managed brilliantly. We were amazed at how well they followed instructions, like leaving a precise gap between each tile. Before long they were correcting the staff - telling us we were using the wrong colours and leaving too much space!
It was a very tactile project, and it was great for the children's physical, creative and mathematical development. They learned to count and sort tiles by colour, shape and pattern. All the children got involved, and some spent all morning working.
We had a big opening ceremony for the mosaic, which is now displayed on a wall outside the nursery. Finishing the mosaic hasn't meant the end of the project, however. We made animal masks and danced to 'Carnival of the Animals' to continue our jungle theme. Sometimes the children also sit outside and draw pictures of the mosaic.
We're now planning another arts project, involving dance and a link with the local school. Hopefully it will be as successful as the mosaic - for children and teachers alike.
Jude Simms, supervisor of Broadway Playgroup, Worcestershire, spoke to Liz Fox