Yarlside Nursery and Primary School
Mosaic Stepping Stones Project
Yarlside Nursery and Primary School in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria invested in one of our school project packs for the autumn term 2013. They wanted to create a colourful set of stepping stones for their new wildlife area, so they chose the ‘Mosaic Stepping Stone Pack for 30‘.
Mosaic Stepping Stone Pack for 30
A year on, they still had enough materials left in their pack to run a second project and make another set of brilliant stepping stones. They sent me these photos of their talented pupils with the fabulous work that they made this time. There must be quite a lot of expertise at Yarlside Primary School by now. I wonder what projects they’ll tackle next?
Yarlside Nursery and Primary School
Mosaic Stepping Stones Project
“With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
February Half Term saw the installation of our project “Story Telling Stepping Stones” along the nursery path adjacent to playground 2 and the playing fields at Chorlton Church of England Primary School.
Laying the "surround", photo by Matilda Wigley
The whole school was involved in the project, helping to devise ideas during the “Novel Ideas” workshop, as part of the literacy themed Super Learning Day. We wanted to make a game in the path that could be used to create stories with so children from all year groups dreamed up a series of characters, locations and significant objects and produced images of them in collage mosaic.
Tortoise Stepping Stone
Later, during workshops with Year 3 who had been learning about the ancient mosaics of The Romans, 15 images were settled on to be depicted in permanent mosaic for the path. The class worked in pairs to produce the images using Cinca frost resistant ceramic tile pieces on templates. With help from small team of dedicated parent volunteers, the class enjoyed brandishing trowels and setting their mosaic designs into concrete stepping stones. They worked very carefully, paying close attention to the demonstrations and instructions given and picking up some great skills in the process.
Setting in the pebbles
The stepping stones were left in the school basement to fully cure until a date for installation was arranged in the half term holiday. Don’t they look fantastic? The Year 3 class is very proud of their colourful contribution to the school’s lively and varied outdoor environment and are happy in the knowledge that this will be a lasting legacy of their time at Chorlton C E Primary.
The finished Mosaic Panel on the Wall at the Front of the School
More recently, I have been working with children at Brookacre Community Primary School in Warrington to produce a mosaic mural for the outside of the school building. Here, too, Year 3 took the lead – they designed the 2 metre high x 1.5 metre wide panel with me and then the rest of the school came out to in groups to work on the mosaic. The weather was so good, we did the whole job outdoors – in March!!
Every month the website features a special offer on one of the school mosaic products . This month, its a whopping 20% off the Roman Mosaics Class Pack, which is one of the best bargains we’ve ever offered. Instead of £245 – which is actually amazing value anyway when you cost out what’s included – it is just £196 if you place your school’s order this March. We hope you can take advantage of this very special offer.
Year 3 have created a new game for the whole school to enjoy along the nursery path: a story telling game made in mosaic!!
freshly installed this half term
Each mosaic square features one of the circular stepping stones made by Y3, working in pairs. There are 15 in total. They designed images of characters, objects and locations for the Story Telling path that other children can weave into new stories each time they play, as they leap from one square to another. Featured images include a castle; a beanstalk; a vortex (through which you might leap into a new dimension); a blood-stained dagger; a cute dog; a bolt of lightening and more…..
The children made up the designs on templates and then worked in small groups with me and Luke – who was chief cement mixer for the day – to cast them into concrete down in the school basement. It was like one big mud pie bakery down there, except the mud pies were masterpieces that set to perfection….
More images of the project and full report coming soon…..
This new workshop is a great opportunity for all the class to make their own individual mosaic keepsake using real mosaic tesserae, as part of a fun-filled day exploring ancient Roman mosaics that will bring the topic to life for all your pupils!!
The workshop package includes:
- Lively slide show presentation – “Classic Roman Mosaics”
- Handling sample mosaic works of art
- Every child designs and creates their own mosaic fridge magnet (max 30)
- Games and Roman Mosaic quiz
- All mosaics taken away, grouted and returned to school by courier
The price of the package is £350 + vat. For schools outside Greater Manchester, travel expenses will be charged at standard rates.
Children learn in different ways, for sure, but there’s clear agreement that being actively and physically engaged in an absorbing process is an ideal way for most children to learn. A mosaic project is exciting. It is very ‘hands on’, so there is little chance of distraction and every opportunity for personal expression and individuality. What’s more there is a tangible and very desirable end product – a legacy that the whole school community can enjoy for years to come – that will be an asset to the school building or school grounds.
The most popular projects that I have worked on in schools have been:
- Mosaic Stepping Stones for paths, patios and flower beds (as in the image above)
- Roman Mosaic Plaques (see previous post for more details)
- Large format wall mosaics that involve lots, if not all, the school pupils
In all of these projects, whilst being creative and fully occupied, children are also learning and developing a whole range of skills. To calculate quantities of materials we use maths but most of them do this without realising! Participants have to make colour choices, listen carefully to instructions, understand safety rules, co-operate in small teams and much more. Kim Grant has made a very useful list of the learning opportunities
that a mosaic project can offer to children.
The school mosaic packs have been designed for use in both primary and secondary education. The same techniques and materials can be used at each level and the tips for teachers give suggestions for differentiating accordingly, together with other practical suggestions for organising the project.
In the last few years, schools have been especially interested in improving their outside environment and this has prompted better resources becoming available to enable schools to do it themselves wherever possible. My best selling kit for schools is the Mosaic Stepping Stones Project Pack (Garden Theme) for 30
. They have been popular up and down the country and I have received excellent feedback from a number of schools letting me know how pleased they’ve been with the packs. There is also a ‘refill’ for this pack so that the equipment in it can be re-used with subsequent groups.
In addition to the various kits and community group and special school packages you can now choose your own combination of top quality CINCA frost resistant ceramic tiles from the website.
There are 23 colours in stock to select from, giving you plenty of choice. The selection shown above includes 5 of each of our most popular 10 colours, available to purchase on the website for £75.00 + p&p. Click here to view.
Most of us rely on a few strong characters in our communities to drive initiatives for change and the commitment and dedication of these individuals is to be greatly admired.
Liz is one of these treasured assets in my own neighbourhood so when she approached me just over a year ago, together with Angie and Becky from the Oswald Road Community Garden Group, and told me what was going on, I was delighted to agree to the project.
In their spare time, the team of volunteers has carried out the improvements to the small green space along Oswald Road in Chorlton adjacent to the fenced sports ground that’s come to be known as ‘The Field of Oz’. Planting includes a herb wheel and two spiralling lines of fruit trees and shrubs.
They have been gradually building on their achievements, applying for any community support and grants that they can find. A mosaic project was seen as a great way to introduce some year round colour, engage awareness from more local people and provide a fabulous opportunity for children at Oswald Road Primary School to be involved in making a mosaic for a community space.
The mosaic was designed and created by children from Oswald Road Primary School with the help and support of Mrs. Appleby in the spring and stored over the summer. Once the new school year began, we arranged a date and Becky, Liz and I installed the mosaic together. Here you can see Liz and I putting the finishing touches to it!
An official celebratory ‘opening’ of the mosaic will take place soon…………
I love to work with community and school groups and lead them through the process of making mosaic for their space and these projects have huge benefits in all sorts of ways as well as the obvious visual results.
However, not all such groups have the funding to bring in an artist to work with them and face the daunting prospect of going it alone on their first mosaic. Fear not, for I have solutions!!
Due to recent conversations, I have added to my range of school mosaic project kits the new ‘Outdoor Wall Mosaic Kit For Groups‘
The kit has been designed for community groups and schools alike and is suitable for any age group, as long as you have an enthusiastic project leader or teacher to co-ordinate your project.
Year 6 children at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School in Knutsford have created a fabulous farewell gift for their school – a huge mosaic sign in the design of their school emblem!!
The project has been co-ordinated by Mary Johnson on behalf of the school’s PTA and has involved all of the Year 6 children, with extra help from pupils in Y5, Y4 and Y3. Mary arranged for me to run workshops with the children over a couple of days. They all listened very carefully and worked diligently to achieve these wonderful results, grasping the techniques involved remarkably fast.
Also on hand to help throughout the making process, ex St. Vincent’s pupil Ishbel (who now attends Hull University) very kindly gave up her time to help and inspire the youngsters.
All fixed down, grouting next.......
On Monday the sign will be grouted and then installed in pride of place on the front of the school building. It is a lovely way for the children to show their appreciation for everything that St. Vincent’s has given to them during their time at the school.