Week 12: Program Review – Origami and Doodling

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      Caitlin .

      To attend a program intended for children for this review was my first struggle and necessitated a rather late posting. Our Local Library offers Origami and Doodling for those aged 5 and up from 3.30 to 4.30 Wednesdays. Me and master 6 took the afternoon of work and an early mark off school to arrive in time for the commencement of the session. Considering our Primary school only finishes at 3.20 the early start time was a little puzzling.

      I knew about the program through word of mouth and a rather exacerbating search on the web site. On arrival at the Library we had a little look around before approaching the desk, the gentleman seemed rather unsure whether we could drop in without prior arrangement however directed us to an unseen staircase and an upstairs classroom. I was surprised there was no signage or welcome in the foyer or the Library itself as SLQ guidelines encourage extensive promotion of such events. The Children’s Librarian greeted us a little warily and we were given origami instruction sheets, paper and a marker for details. We then sat around a communal table. It was very obvious the other participants were regulars and many were greeted with hugs by the Librarian, the experience for an introverted person was a daunting to say the least. While Craft Programs such as this often follow a theme or take the opportunity to display books, this program sought none of this and was delivered as a completely unstructured individual activity hour.

      Master 6 however, was more than happy and sat down to start folding, unfortunately my limited abilities in this area soon became apparent and there were a few folds which we struggled with, he happily asked the Librarian for assistance and she performed the fold and gave his paper back. The opportunity for learning however was lost as she did not explain the action to either of us, the enthusiasm for the program and children in general was perhaps a little absent. In the hour we accomplished many very basic origami pieces and some coloring. His favorite was the whale! Mine the Fox as I was good at those!
      Our Origami Our Origami!
      The afternoon seemed to be a drop in center for a group of old friends happy to engage siblings while other children were at sport or to have a social occasion with other parents. The group had apparently been going for more than 4 years and the ‘regular’ children had specialist craft folders of their own, new children were allowed to participate however could not have a folder and their was no specific instruction for origami or assistance available. My son enjoyed the early mark off school and some one on one time however I found the experience rather intimidating. I had been expecting a greater engagement with the local Japanese community who were well represented however folded and colored in their own groups. I was surprised by the lack of structure or welcome and wondered at the aims of the program. Much of the Literature regarding such programs espouses the importance of community links and the use of programming to build relationships, inspire creativity and encourage imagination. Unfortunately I believe there were many missed opportunities in this regard.

      A free coloring and craft hour would be great if perhaps it was a little more accessible and publicized to children from diverse backgrounds as advised in the SLQ guidelines, however all the children were regulars and it was made clear that you had to attend multiple times before attending the end of year party or having access to the craft store room. For those 15 or so regular children and their parents the hour was well resourced and seemed a largely social occasion. On my departure I realized no one had asked our names or introduced themselves including the Librarian and the program seemed a very exclusive affair. My son was a little saddened he could not take instruction sheets home to share with his siblings however we were able to “google” them on our return home. While I like the idea of free play the scheduling and atmosphere of the program were disappointing and I can think of no reason to return. Master 6 was already frustrated with my lack of Origami abilities and wanted to the trickier projects with no one to demonstrate or teach the skills I can see he would tire of the program very quickly. I feel the guidelines surrounding Childrens Programming and community inclusion were a little absent.

      I believe the opportunity to have the Japanese community, both Adults and Children, creating connections through teaching origami was sadly missed. I would have also like to see a book display featuring origami books and those related to cultural aspects of Japan or perhaps a theme so we could all explore particular projects eg Origami Flowers together. The program was so isolated from the Children’s collection my son would not even know it existed. Since our visit he has said nothing sadly an indication that he has no desire to make a return.

      • This topic was modified 8 years, 5 months ago by Caitlin ..
      • This topic was modified 8 years, 5 months ago by Caitlin ..
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