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A tradition first introduced in 2023 by Mrs Stephanie Cabot’s Prep class, the PW cohort of 2024 have continued our friendship with ongoing weekly visits to the residents of Vailima Gardens Retirement Village. The Prep boys have been hard at work developing their domestic talents, with the smell of freshly baked scones from our classroom a feature of our Mondays in Palm House, ahead of the much-anticipated weekly Wednesday visits. During these sessions, the boys have also had the opportunity to engage with residents in serving afternoon tea (even taking down handwritten orders with Ms Western’s assistance!). In addition to culinary challenges, the boys also enjoy completing puzzles and reading with the residents, fostering meaningful connections and bringing joy to all. This weekly tradition has become a cherished part of both the students’ and residents’ routines.

The Journey of Pottery Creation

Building on this tradition of service and connection, the Prep boys embarked on a heartwarming project: creating pottery teacups for the Vailima Gardens residents. This initiative was not only a creative endeavour but also an act of service, aiming to bring joy to the Vailima residents. This project was run by art teacher Sally Houston.

The project spanned across several weeks and incorporated a variety of educational and hands-on activities for the Prep boys to learn about the art of pottery:

Week 3: Pinch Pots for Students
The boys began their pottery journey by learning to create pinch pots. This foundational skill introduced them to the basics of working with clay, providing a solid start to their creative process.

Week 4: Teacups for Vailima Residents
Building on their newfound skills, the boys progressed to crafting teacups, adding handles to their pinch pots.

Week 5: Glazing Pinch Pots
The next step involved glazing their own pinch pots. This process allowed the boys to explore different glazing techniques and colours, enhancing their artistic skills and giving their creations a professional finish.

Week 6: Glazing Vailima Teacups
During this week, the teacups for Vailima residents were fired to ensure the handles were securely attached. The boys then applied glazes to the teacups, infusing them with vibrant colours.

Weeks 7 and 8: Delivery and Visit
The highlight of this project was the visit to Vailima Gardens. The boys personally delivered their handcrafted teacups, offering a warm gesture of kindness and community spirit. This visit provided an opportunity for the boys to interact with the residents, share stories of their creations, and witness the joy their creations brought.

Clay Technique Education: Throughout this project, the boys not only learned the technical aspects of pottery but also gained knowledge about the broader context of their craft. Topics covered included:

Clay and Glazes: Understanding the properties of earthenware clay and the different types of glazes used to decorate pottery.

Geology and Heat: Learning about the natural formation of clay and the role of heat in the pottery firing process.

History and Culture: Exploring the rich history of Greek pottery and other ancient clay artifacts, linking their own work to centuries-old traditions.

This hands-on pottery project combined creativity with purpose and service. The boys in Prep not only developed their clay techniques, fine motor skills and artistic expressions but also engaged in a meaningful act of kindness, demonstrating the importance of giving back.

Evangeline Western
Prep Teacher