Exploring the Story of Easter through Willow sessions.
These descriptions of the course content for a single day or two day course are just serving suggestions. They can be changed according to the schools needs and are provided as examples of what it might look like and starting points for discussions. I am working from the assumption that a school would want to maximise the number of pupils that it puts through these programs, so this is set up for working with extra adult support from the school with whole classes, but can be very effective with smaller groups of children working alongside myself.
One Day Course
9:10 : meet the classes that are taking part together in the activities and give an introduction to the material they will be using, including safety points when using the willow.
9:30 – 10:45: Session 1 Leaf making
Children have a prepared structure to weave into to create a woven leaf, using a figure of eight weaving pattern.
– it makes sense to start the younger children taking part to take on the easier weaving activity. (The younger the children the more adult support they benefit from. Parents are often will to help and enjoy these activities. 5 additional adults with younger children ensure they are not waiting for help if they are unsure and have a really good experience of working with willow )
10:45 -11:00 Break
11:00 – 12:15 Session 2 – Crown of Thorns
Children take a simple core of a small wreath and build up its structure, first working at placing the new sticks tightly knot with the grove of the already woven in sticks. Then children begin to place sticks across the groves creating a more random, nest like structure, jutting some ends out to represent the thorns.
1:00 – 2:15 Session 3 – The Cross.
Children work within a willow frame, held in place by a small wooden jog in which it stands, using a figure of eight weave to create the cross. This session is best kept for the older children who will be working with the willow.
End of day –
These is an hour at the end of the day that is deliberately not committed, so that there is more space, if sessions have over run to ensure that all children have completed their willow piece. This time slot can be used to bring the children back together and show what they have done and recap the Easter story in an assembly activity.
Alternatively, something that can be appreciated is that I use the time to work with a small group of children to create an item that the school can retain after the children have taken home their individual items of willow. (eg a fish that is about ½ metre long)
All these suggestions are negotiable and need to be discussed prior to the day of the course, as each item that the children make are prepared in advance and need to be ready on the day.