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Day 7 - Text - Mr Einstein Makes a Visit

I had very few children to work with again in the morning. This is due to the slow down coming up to Summer, as doctors go on holidays and there aren`t so many clinics, as well as the fact that there are fewer ill children with flue etc in the Summer. This is the profile of a more rural regional hospital.

However, come late afternoon it became busy, just as I was packing up at the end of the day!

In the morning I had a one on one session with an 11 year old boy, while his mother watched and also participated. In the middle of the session the boy was discharged, but his mother choose to wait for him to finish the art activity before going home, as she said he was enjoying it. She waited patiently for over an hour.

We were inspired by our puppet that arrived in the post, Einstein, a time traveler who was over 100 years old, and had travelled everywhere. Einstein was a sock puppet sent to us by Siobhan (another artist on this project), so we imagined who Einstein might meet on his travels, and constructed these characters. We made a version of a sock puppet from hospital bandage. The puppet making was so wonderfully full of surprises. Because I did not know what kind of puppet was arriving in the post, I needed to improvise the making activity. I drew on my previous experience of making sock puppets from bandage. However, the 11 year old boy experimented as he made and invented a new type of bandage sock puppet! I truly love when that happens, something completely new and unexpected from familiar materials! And those valuable moments when young people surprise you by offering new knowledge, skills, and ideas.

The live link unfortunately was without sound, but at least the boy could share the visual picture he had made in the theatre box, with a tree and house as set.

Einstein came with a video which ended with a slide show of him in different locations and with different staff from the hospital Siobhan is working in. This inspired us also to take photos of both Einstein and also of the childrens` puppets on the ward and with staff. The children took the photos, and chose the places. This worked very well to break boundaries between staff and children, and to bring the nursing staff closer to the project. I am going to try and make this photo documentation part of the days schedule. It also is often quite humorous, and it is great to bring this humor further onto the ward.

Had a very good conversation with the Hospital Play Specialist and agreed the direction to take with the next staff room activity, which is what I suggested last week. The hospital play specialist proposed that it remain for the Summer and she would help maintain it. As we were talking in the staff room, a member of the auxillary staff gave her input. She said she would love a copy of the collage, that she thought it was lovely. She also was happy to hear of another activity being planned and shared ideas with us on possible themes and materials.

I ended the day by testing a digital projector which we can borrow from the library. The hospital play specialist was so excited about the possibilities of using the projector on the ward, with children who are on bed rest and need to lie flat on their backs. I am looking forward to playing with it now over the rest of the project. We have it booked from the hospital library every Wednesday for the next 3 weeks.

I stayed a bit later today to start setting up the display in the hospital window, inspired again by Siobhan`s puppet window in her hospital.

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