During my time as a kinder assistant a special part of the day for me was listening to teachers tell wonderful stories through rhyme, books and plays. However, the best storytellers I have heard, are the ones with the most drama and expression. The children sit up and listen, with their big eyes watching for the next page and the excitement of the next magic moment. They sit and watch their peers waiting for their turn to act out a play. But…. It’s the children that tell their stories with the most imagination, creativity and humour.
During my time as a Mum, I found a special job as costume maker and back stage helper for adults, and child carer shows. I saw so many rehearsals. My special moment was when actors tried on their costumes and stepped up there acting skills to its fullest by becoming the character. So many funny stories trying to fit costumes as actors practiced voices, laughed, danced on the spot (and around the room or stage) and tried very hard to stay still while so excited that they could see the full development of the character on themselves. In all these happy moments, everyone became part of a team working towards a well told story.
On stage I saw children and adults overcoming difficulties becoming a character. A shy person become a stage performer while being a character, a determination to help a team from a person who spends a lot of time alone, a confidence to stand up and act in front of others from someone with little confidence in speech, a stutter or tremor disappear as they took on their role, a person who thought they have no skills to sing dance and act to go on stage and amaze audiences and themselves with their wonderful performance, a person with a special need not be noticed as any different as anybody else playing a character and so the stories go on, and on, and on. This all happens just because the person was suited to their character because a wonderful teacher, director or choreographer has seen something in someone that makes that person a character. And that character grew with practice and all that time confidence as a person grew as well.
Behind stage skills should be treated as equal to an actor, the person with the ideas for the performance, for the stage, the set, the actors and the costumes. All things children can be involved with.
So, now one of my strongest beliefs for children is that drama is one of the biggest learning curves a child can have. And of course, the costume, the stage and scene can be that extra piece to the puzzle to complete the character. Whether it be in storytelling or just an extra to add to their play, amazing things happen.
It is only through building this small business that I have learnt how important I think storytelling and acting is. How important my little skill can be useful and how my Mum taught me one of my useful skills that makes me, me. Me and my sewing machine- a team not to broken.
I started sewing in primary school when my Mum taught me the four R’s, re-use, recycle, repair and recondition by repairing face washers, it sparked an interest in passion for art and textiles through my school years and then completed a Diploma of Arts in Fashion at RMIT I worked as a designer, patternmaker and dressmaker for many years in my own business and for other companies. Along the way I have sewn for theatre companies, kindergartens and schools. Now, after finding a love of working with children I have decided to use the skills to “Sew for the Kids”.
After having my two wonderful children, I started family day care from home and ended up in the job I felt very privileged to have as a Preschool Assistant. I have now spent 24 years in childcare, kindergarten, early intervention, children’s aid and relief work in kindergartens. It’s been a wonderful journey full of children’s learning experiences and many learning experiences of my own including studying Diploma of Children’s Services (Pre-School) and recently Case Management, Certified in the Early Denver Approach for Autism, Certified Art Therapist, and the biggest learning curve and most special, of course has been being a Mum. It’s funny to think through all this I have used my skills in sewing and arts as my way of helping children (and adults too) whether it be sewing for my assignments, donating sewn objects, dress-ups, making sets or scenery, decorating the classroom or the dreaded mending, that nobody seems to like doing.