Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Beautiful Stuff Project

"That is beautiful." C.Z.

Materials are very important to the kindergarten 
classroom. Hundreds of colours, shapes, and textures are found within our room. The students explore, examine, and take care of these existing materials.

The Beautiful Stuff project aims to investigate what it 
means to children when they have sought out, discovered, and collected materials themselves. Does this affect the way they use and care for those materials? Are they more thoughtful, focused, and pleased with their efforts when they have been engaged in the process right from the beginning? What learning can come from this experience?

The Journey Begins

While investigating dots as artists during our “Dot 
Project” the concept of “beauty” emerged. Many of the children shared with us their ideas about what is beautiful. During our morning meeting, the question was posed to the entire class.

What is beautiful?

The sun – A.L.
A heart and a diamond – S.M.
The stars – C.L.
Moon – R.S.
I think sprinkles – B.Y.
Sparkles – C.Z.
A flower – A.C.
Starfish – A.R.
A sunflower – I
Pictures – E.L.
The calendar we made for October – M.L.
A flower is beautiful – T.K.
Airplane – I.G.

Expanding our Concept of Beauty

Mrs. Nitsotolis was the first to open her bad of Beautiful Stuff. These materials were chosen to expand the children’s concept of beauty and included: ribbon, flowers, buttons, etc.

Sharing Materials

Each student was given the opportunity to share his or her own bag of Beautiful Stuff. 

Sorting our Beautiful Stuff

Hundreds of beautiful things were brought into the classroom. 

Classifying and Organizing

The children decided to sort by material. Together they worked at sorting, classifying and organizing our Beautiful Stuff.
I: Where does this sea shell go?
M.L: It's from nature.
C.L: No it's not, it's from the beach.

Ms. P: I wonder where we see "nature"?
A.R: In the park.
M.L: In the forest.

Ms. P: Do you think the beach is
part of nature?

M.L: Yes, because it is outside.

Ms. P: I wonder what is "nature"?
(This is a question that will continue to explore.)

The collected materials were divided into several clear bins including: things from nature, shiny things, paper, ribbon and string, plastics, fabrics, etc.                                                               

Building an Alphabet with
Found Materials

Once all the Beautiful Stuff bags had been opened, sorted and discovered the bins were labeled and moved to the Creation Station. The children were invited to build letters of their choice using the found materials. The children selected materials and arranged them on a piece of cardboard in the shape of a letter of their choice. They then glued each piece in place.


Our Beautiful Stuff Alphabet & Documentation Panel

Through this collaborative process the children 
successfully built the whole alphabet using found
materials, which is now displayed and utilized in our classroom! 


  1. Wow. I love everything about this study. It started off with a question, then family involvement, then math (sorting), and finally a collaborative project. Very cool! I wish I was a child in your classroom!

  2. What a wonderful and fun learning experience for your class- I am definitely inspired to use a variation of this project for my Creative ESL class. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. This is breathtaking!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. WOW!! What a great project...... what types of literature did you read and how long did this project last?



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