Why We Need Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz no. 137 – 28th October 2014

Welcome to Kidz Newz, especially to all new subscribers, including all those who subscribed at EYES last month in Perth – thank you and welco

Welcome to Kidz Newz, especially to all new subscribers. Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to. Feedback is welcome. Don’t forget to stay in touch on our Facebook Page and watch out for our exclusive fan page competitions.

Why We Need Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden

Many people are unaware of the importance of the fantasy phase of a child’s development, dismissing it as irrelevant because it is ‘not real’. It is because it is not real that makes it so important, ironically. At about age 4-8 years of age children are exploring fantasy, which is why picture books about talking animals and talking toys – or dare I suggest fairies – are so important. The children have no problem accepting the wisdom that these characters impart and get totally engrossed in their adventures. It does not matter that these creatures are not real because it is the story-telling that matters. If a child can suspend belief, why can’t we?

The point is, the child of that age can’t distinguish between what is real and what is not, so everything is believable. Take advantage of this stage. It offers a wealth of opportunity for teaching that ceases to be possible once they have matured into the next phase where they understand what things are set in concrete and what are not.

I’m not alone in believing in the importance of fantasy. I came across a new book recommended to me by Helen Evans which I reproduce here with her synopsis –

Book Review: – Fairy Gardening 101

by Fiona McDonald
Skyhorse publishing 2014

I found this delightful book by accident and just had to buy it. It has beautiful photos of many fairy gardens. Most are simple to make with a child and will inspire you and your child or grandchild. There is a list of tools you will need, a short history of fairies, simple directions for both indoor and outdoor gardens and step by step points to help you create gardens. The emphasis is on using recycled materials and pre-loved containers with little fairies to decorate them.

www.helenevansreluctantheroes.com www.helenevanswriter.com.au
www.helenevans-storyteller.com www.help4everyparent.com
www.writers-exchange.com/Helen-Evans.html www.amazon.com/author/helenevans

I have to confess that I haven’t yet read this book but value Helen’s opinion on all things related to small children. Just from reading this short review you can already see the enormous potential. You may wonder why you couldn’t just plant a little garden with the children. Of course you could, but why not imbue the learning with magic? The children will be so much more enthusiastic about the project if you do because it has much more of a sense of purpose for them. Furthermore, they are developing their imaginations, without which their futures will be bleak. They are still going to be learning all the science and maybe maths concepts involved in this project, not to mention all the social aspects, but the sense of purpose is so magnified. To the children it is beyond wonderful, it is magical. When you have such a captive audience, learning is fun and so is the teaching.

I have written before in more detail about this subject. Please go to Issue #42 – The Need For a Highly Developed Imagination – about why fantasy is just so important, not only for today’s pre-schoolers, but for the future of the planet wherein we have adults who have been allowed to fully explore fantasy. How can you truly know reality when you don’t know what fantasy is? And how boring would your life be?

If you want to extend the whole notion of fairies (and why wouldn’t you want to?) then I recommend the Fairies and Fantasy section of kidz-fiz-biz (the yellow book) for some great ideas on music, movement, dance, drama using scarves as fairy wings, stretching and relaxation using lots of classical music. Go to www.kidzfizbiz.com to purchase your copy if you don’t already have one.

Here are a couple of little finger-plays you might like to try in the meantime –

Here Is The Fairy (Marlene Rattigan) –

Here is the fairy dainty & small (link thumbs & flap “wings”)
Here is the gum tree straight & tall (arms together straight up)
Here is kookaburra’s beak shut tight (snap thumb against closed fingers – do it with both hands)
Here is the fairy hiding out of sight. (hide hands behind back)

Outcomes: fine-motor co-ordination, sequential memory, kinaesthesia

Goblins and Fairies –

Goblins are up (thumbs up, fingers hidden)
Goblins are down
Goblins are dancing around the town (thumbs “dance”)
Fairies are up (fingers up, thumbs hidden)
Fairies are down
Fairies are dancing around the town (fingers “dance”)

Outcomes: fine-motor co-ordination, finger discrimination, sequential memory, awareness of positional terms

Quotes of the Week

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.
– John F. Kennedy

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
– Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
– Dr. Maya Angelou.


Some comments from the recent ECCPA Conference 2014

What was the most useful thing you learned today?
Lots more ways to use scarves (this was a recurring comment)
Give children a rest, don’t over-tire them
Lots of new ideas
Using scarves with drama and relaxation/stretching
Using action songs with scarves
Using scarves for stories and incorporating them in songs – Rhonda Parkinson – Alchester Village Preschool
Exploring the scarf in different ways
Creating characters with scarves


Searching for fairies – bound to be some if we run far enough …

Not quite a fairy at the bottom of the garden, but …

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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