Imaginary Leaps at the State Library of Western Australia – Session 3

Better Beginnings in partnership with Early Years artist Rachel Riggs

Tues 9th Aug  – Making Dens & friends

We had a very special session this week with Elaine Forrestal , the writer of our featured book  ‘Miss Llewellyn-Jones’ attending with her granddaughter.

Elaine Forrestal

After we all said hello, we read the book together role playing with the Washing Line-  clothes, umbrella & teddy, to tell the story, lots of fun using props, big fan for the wind, and  the children made concertina fans with paper or blew with their lips. Then Elaine repeated the story telling and I animated the clothes on the line, it was fantastic to collaborate with the original writer.

We then looked at the featured illustrations in the Space Gallery, also with the projected images to look at the details in the paintings.(see below)

Featured original illustrations – Diary of a Wombat by -Bruce Whately – ‘Night . Dug new hole to be closer to them’ We look at the similarities in the pictures, the same clothes on the washing line, 3 different kinds of animals in holes, themes picked up in illustrations.‘Bilbies’ by Moira Court  (WA) Some of the children think they are rabbits, so we talk about the differences and native Australian animals, and role play being Bilbies.

With the illustration ‘Too Early’ by Stephen Michael King , we make little worms with our fingers and sing ‘Theres a worm at the bottom of the garden’, led by Margaret, repeated and sang together. In the imagethe bird wants his breakfast!

The Bilby and Wombat puppets have a chat about being small and big, then lead into making burrows. The children play and make mini world homes with small boxes & plasticine model worms and mini mammals with messy play in trays.

They love making a pillow and sheet to tuck up the worms in bed in a little house like the ‘Too Early’ image. I read the poems from the book ‘ And the Roo jumped over the Moon’ that the image is from., Everyone, adult and child engages, the youngest love the messy play with the cous cous and the plasticine worms they have modelled.


They all  get really into constructing dens with cardboard boxes, draping cloth and creating  burrows with big pieces of fake fur and soft blanket fabrics.

Hmm, does my den look like the picture?

I continue with poems,  from ‘ And the Roo jumped over the Moon’ about kangaroos and wallabies, while the children role play being worms, birds, wombats & bilibies all snuggled up in their burrows.

Lots of play and participation with parent/carers we all listen to relaxing music and lie down under the star cloth, singing Twinkle Twinkle  and then the ‘Goodbye song’.

Feedback includes – ‘It was great to see both the adults and the children use their imagination and improvise to create so many different things with simple materials.’

‘I enjoy the fact that all the activities are planned to do together, the parent with the child,’

‘I like my worm I made, its going to sleep in its little house next to me on my shelf. Ive got shelves.’

‘That was wonderful!’

Photos by Susan McEwan.

Thanks to Susan, Margaret and the Better Beginnings Team

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