My visitors today

Saturday 11 July 2009

The Knautschi Family

Summer Landscape, England 1979, by Susie Mallett

Episodes three, four, five and six

My colleague is really getting into the caterpillar story.

Episode Three, Nibbles

She jumped out of the window on Tuesday, to collect real leaves, with real caterpillar nibbles in them, and then she had the children cutting nibbles out of the paper leaves and poking baby caterpillars through the holes,

She then played the CD of The Hungry Caterpillar while we worked. She just happened to have it nearby.

It is lovely when silliness and having fun is contagious!

I thinkthat it was a very successful day.

You can’t wait for the next episode? Well here it is.

Episode Four, Mrs Knautschi’s awaited visit

Early this morning one of the children brought in a horse that the group know and love, his name is Lars. He was busy telling the story of his holidays to the children when I suddenly remembered that I had Knautschi’s wife in my bag. I whispered this to my colleague and she told the children that Knautschi was bringing his wife tomorrow to meet them. They suddenly all started to chant for Knautschi. And the story-telling horse was quickly forgotten!

Knautschi was called in to make a fly-past and to get a few strokes on his head. The children were all lying on their tummies on the carpet and of course they stroked the head with both left and right hands!

Mrs Knautschi flew in too. My colleague's face was a picture when the cardboard butterfly balanced on the tip of her finger she was more mesmerised than the children were.

Getting-ready-for-Wednesday Tuesday!

At seven-thirty on Tuesday evening, after my last group had left, I propped open my eyelids with a couple of matchsticks and I made five more hungry caterpillar babies in the next size up. They need to grow a bit overnight, after nibbling their way through so many crunching leaves.

My task tomorrow is to find the lolly and sausage, the chocolate cake and the plum, in the toy corner to supplement the caterpillar diet.

You will have to look at The Hungry Caterpillar if you don’t understand the last sentence.

Episode Five, Five hungry caterpillar babies

On Wednesday morning the children were all hanging over the end of the plinths on their tummies, arms dangling, collecting June-fall apples to feed to their now very big and forever hungry caterpillar babies, Julia, Maria, Whuopi, Frechi and Marci, for breakfast.

Mummy butterfly, who was somehow at some time christened Crinolene by one of the little boys, was fluttering around like all Mums of quintuplets would.

Episode Six, Thursday was creating day

It was quite funny because, even though I had all the materials needed to make a caterpillar baby arranged down the centre of the table, not one child guessed what we were going to make.

First we talked about colours, as I had about ten different colours of paper to choose from. We talked about dark colours and light colours, bright colours and dull colours, and of course favourite colours. Favourite colours were chosen and we got on to the next stage.

We chatted about scissors and cutting, and then we made pencil lines on the paper to follow with the scissors.

After lots of snipping and folding the children all had a concertina of brightly coloured paper. They were still unsure how this was going to turn into a Knautschi, until one of them realised that it needed a head. So heads were created with lovely smiley faces.

With a range of different coloured heads and bodies we not only have a multicultural room full of people everyday (German, Hungarian, Russian, English), it seems like we also have a multicultural band of caterpillars.

What is going to happen next with our Caterpillar Band? Who knows? We certainly don’t.

My colleague and I just play it by ear, taking the lead from the children. My colleague is a whizz at improvising really funny stories and I take over the quick creation of the props and the conjuring up of something for the arty-crafty sessions.

I am really looking forward to next week.

PS For three afternoons a week until the end of July I wll be with a group of older children at the Pestalozzi School in the city. Together with another conductor and the children we are designing a circus, choreographing the moves of performers, creating costumes and painting the backdrop. We will perform at the end of the month when term ends, for the parents and friends.

Conductive acrobatics I suppose it could be called.

Whatever we call this work with the teenagers, or the work in the mornings with the littlies, it is all such fun and we are all learning fast!


Die Raupe Nimmersatt by Eric Carle -

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle -

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